The Dangers of Facebook

Here on the blog we have covered a variety of topics related to Facebook, but this recent story out of Charlton, Ma. Made me think that maybe we should talk about Facebook… some more.

Seventeen students at Bay Path Technical Vocational Regional High School recently discovered that some of their Facebook photos and personal information had been used on a porn website. The site is an anonymous bulletin board with links to pornographic content and photos of students from all 50 U.S. states. Along with the teenage girls from Bay Path Regional Vocational there were pictures of students from other schools around the state as well, according to officials.

The photos contained information that could be used to identify the teens, including town and school signs, Charlton Police Chief James Pervier said. The FBI have figured out that while the site is hosted in Ohio its servers are in eastern Europe, which are outside local and federal authority, Charlton Police Lt. Carl Ekman said.

In the stories I found reporting on this incident I couldn’t find anywhere that talked about what kind of privacy settings these girls had on there Facebook profiles. But I thought now would be a good time to remind ourselves (yes, even I need a reminder every now and then) of a few good Facebook habits we should all be taking part in.

  1. Turn on Your Privacy Settings! There is no reason why you should have a public profile, unless you are a public figure in which case create a Facebook page. And while you’re at it, turn on secure browsing.
  2. Control your Photos! Make sure whenever you share a photo on Facebook that you have the “Friends Only” option turned on. If not, then even if your profile is set to private ANYONE can have access to your photos.
  3. Change Your Password Regularly – Make changing your password a periodic habit.
  4. Don’t Accept Any Friends Requests From People You Don’t Know – This applies to teens as much, if not more, than adults. This is the simply opening the door for identity theft and giving a stranger access to your personal information as well as photos.
  5. Post Smart – Think before you post. You don’t need to Broadcast where you are or aren’t at every given moment.  I’m the first to admit that I do use the check-in feature, but I’m rethinking that habit big time, especially after reading this article.

Are you careful about what YOU post on Facebook?

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