The Dangers of Facebook
After reading countless of hubs that talk about the joys and features of using facebook. Some pointing out the ways on how you can market and network on there, while others talk about some of the interesting features like the games and stuff. Indeed, it seems Facebook has become the largest online social network in the world, even over it's competitor Myspace that was originally the first online social network. However, Facebook has mastered Myspace's concept and turned into something more. Now, with a new film coming out called, "Social Network", it seems Facebook is well on it's way to becoming almost as big of a site as Google.
However, with all good things, there's also a lot of dangers people aren't aware of on Facebook that they need to know. Sure, other hubs will tell you about the joys and features Facebook promises but in this hub, you'll find out the cons to using Facebook and what steps you can do to protect yourself online.
In light of the horrific events of 9/11, the government started wiretapping certain phone lines and internet networks to monitor certain people that might be involved in terrorist activities. Therefore, you shouldn't post anything on Facebook that might be deemed questionable, even if you were only saying it as a joke. Seriously, just joking around with people, on your public Facebook page, about a bomb OR saying how you wish you could blow up or physically hurt someone, can be used against you. As the FBI according to various sources on MSN and yahoo, claim that the FBI has several dummy accounts online, and Facebook is one of them.
This brings me up to my next point, everyone you meet on Facebook, unless you met them face to face, not all of them are going to be who you claim they are. Therefore, if you admit to something illegal to a person you just met that same day on Facebook, then that person could put out a warrant for your arrest, as he/she might be an FBI agent spying on you. That's right. FBI agents do have dummy accounts on Facebook so unless your absolutely sure the person your talking to is trustworthy, then it's probably not a good idea to tell this person anything more than they need to know about you. Nor is it a good idea to use questionable humor even if you don't mean it like, "hey let's go out and smoke some weed." Yeah, just pray the guy/girl your talking to isn't an FBI agent if you say that, as your so going to jail for even joking about something like that.
Stalkers and Child Predators
As I said earlier, not everyone online is who they say they are. That's why this is extremely important to remember. As the film, "Social Network", suggests, Facebook was originally designed for people to check up and keep in touch with their friends. Although you don't necessarily have to limit the number of friends you have on Facebook to just the people you know in real life, but you can add anyone you might meet online as well. Heck, some groups use Facebook to do online networking like indie bands or even hubpage users on hubpages. This is why you should be careful of what you say online.
Sure, you can always resolve this issue easily by setting your profile from public to private when you adjust your settings. This way only your friends that are on your Facebook page will see all your posts, and it might be best to only add people that you know in real life. However, if you like to use Facebook for online networking for your hubs and other affiliated sites, then please be careful not to give away anything specific like your address, full name, or even where your going on vacation.
Trust me, according to various online reports, stalkers and child predators do monitor public Facebook pages so if you say something along the lines of..."Hey, me and my four year old son are going to go to the central park zoo, in Philadelphia at 3:00 p.m", then your just asking for trouble. You might as well just say, "Hey, any of you muggers, rapist, pedophiles and serial killers want us, then meet us at the central park zoo, in Philadelphia at three." You see how that works?
Therefore, you should never give away anything specifically about yourself online that would allow a dangerous person to follow you. Sure, if you want to keep your Facebook page public because your trying to promote your indie band, and you want to have complete coverage of your shows and tours for your fans, then that's fine. Just don't give away anything too personal that would allow a stalker to follow you like what specific hotel you might be staying at on tour, or a mailing address. If you must put an address to receive fan mail, then list an e-mail or a P.O. Box. This way, you can still receive fan mail, without the dangers of people knowing where you live.
Burglars and Robberies
This brings me to my next point, robberies. It's no secret that burglars will often scout neighborhoods for which homes have the most money, as well as the ones that are the safest to rob. In fact, most burglars will never rob a house that has a big dog protecting it or if they know there's a strong possibility of getting caught, as burglars don't want to risk getting hurt. This is just another reason why you should never put your full address or name on Facebook, as it only makes it easier for burgulars to find out where you live and monitor your house frequently, to figure out the best times to rob you.
Of course, it doesn't help when you type down your schedule on social networks like "Hey Al, I'm going to be leaving out of town tomorrow on business. I won't be back for about a week, so I'll call you later when I get back." Well, that's just asking for even more trouble right there. As you might as well say something like, "Hey, any of you want to rob my house while I'm gone, then feel free to, as I'll be gone for a whole week." You get the picture? Hence, you should never leave your schedule on Facebook, nor your full name and address, as that's just asking for trouble.
Then again, as I said before, you can always set your Facebook account to private to avoid the issue entirely but if you like having a public profile for networking your business or hubs, then it might be best not to disclose your schedule on Facebook.
However, since I know many people use Facebook to promote their charity events and/or indie bands, and may need to put up schedules to organize their events. Or in the case of indie bands, they'll probably want to give their fans places where to catch some of their concerts, which is understandable. The only advice I can give you if that's the case, then just don't put down your home address or full name. This way, you can still give your fans and audience what they want and need to see you, without compromising your safety or valuables.
Don't Say Or Post Anything That Could Be Used Against You On Facebook
Have you ever read the funny posts people put up on their Facebook pages? You know the ones that say things like, "I'm calling in sick because I just don't feel like it, so I'm going to go smoke some pot", or something like, "I hate my freaking job, and my boss is damn moron that I wish he would drop dead." You know the ones I'm talking about, right? Well, regardless of how you feel about your job, the reality is we all work out of necessity or most of us anyway.
Therefore, you should never say or post anything on Facebook that could incriminate you in anyway. As employers often use Facebook to determine which employees to fire and who to hire. Yes, employers do use Facebook to check up on their employees, according to various online reports on yahoo. Like there was one report of a woman getting canned from a restaurant just for complaining about customers, and another one about how an emergency dispatcher was fired for posting drug use on Facebook. Click on here if you want to read more about it.
Sure, I know there's probably a lot of people who called in sick in the past that weren't really sick (you know who you are), but they called in due to an emergency or they were just fatigued. That's understandable. However, if your employer reads that, then it could constitute grounds for you to get fired or get into serious trouble. It's essentially the equivalent if you called in sick to see a movie with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and your boss saw you that same day you called in. What do you think would happen if he caught you? Well it's basically the same thing if you post it online publicly.
Of course like the last topic, you could always set your profile to private and avoid this issue. This way if you do put some posts similar to the ones I just gave you, then nobody will see it except for your friends and your boss will never have to know. Unless, they're already on your friends list, then your probably screwed if you do. However, if they're not, there's nothing obligating you to add them. If they send you a friend request, you can always decline it, and legally they can't hold it against you at all. After all, you're free to add anyone you like on Facebook as your friend, and there's nothing in a job description that requires you to be friends with your employer online. If your employer asks why, you can always say because you like to keep your relationships at work professional.
You may not like your job and hate your boss but unless you have a private profile on Facebook, then it's best to keep your mouth shut online about that. After all, you wouldn't want to give your boss any leverage to use to fire you if your not already in hot water with him/her as it is. Secondly, if your involved in illegal activities like illegal use of drugs, illegal immigration or whatever (NOT THAT I CONDONE SUCH ACTIONS, AS I DON'T SUPPORT ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES), then the worst thing you can do is post it on Facebook. Not only can your boss legally fire you for posting that online, but he can also report you to the local authorities over it.
However, if you like to use Facebook for a lot of online networking for your hubs, indie bands, or sites that you put up, then just be mindful of what you say. AND, make sure your friends don't post anything that could be incriminating either. As anything they post like, "Hey, your right, your boss is a douche and thanks for calling in sick so we could go pick up some girls/guys", can AND will be used against you if your employer reads it. Hence, make sure your friends understand this as well if you have a public profile not to post anything you don't want to be used against you. After all, anything you say about your boss or company that you work for can and will be used against you by your employer. Don't think because it's Facebook and that your talking to your friends on there, that your entitled to say what you want. Besides, if your profile is public, everyone can see everything you type too along with your friends. Therefore, you need to be very careful about what you post on your public profile and if you must talk to one of your Facebook friends, then it's often best to do so using the instant messenger Facebook provides. Normally, on the bottom right corner of your Facebook screen, after you've logged in, you can click on the chat icon. Once you click it, it'll show you which of your friends are online, then you can click on the name of your friend that you wish to talk to. Once you do that, everything you and this friend say to each other will not show up on Facebook, and you'll be able to talk privately.
Do I really need to elaborate on this? Look, it's no secret that we all forget our passwords to various sites. It happens. However, you should never leave like a clue on your profile that any hacker could figure out. Again, if you choose to have a public profile (as private ones won't have this issue), then no matter how clever you think your little password hint is, it's never a good idea to have it on your public profile. Even if you don't even say it's part of your password, and your password is some answer to a riddle you put up on your profile. Chances are, a hacker will try to figure it out. Leaving a password clue on your profile, no matter how cleverly hidden, will still give a hacker ample room to try to hack into your account. Once they do, we could be looking at not only the issue of your account getting hacked, but it's a good way to have your identity stolen online. Therefore, if you must have a password hint written somewhere, then write it on a piece of paper and put it somewhere safe. Or you can do what I do, just make it an easy to remember password that only YOU would know or even remember that you use frequently.
Look, I hope this hub doesn't discourage folks from using Facebook, as it can a be wonderful site. Seriously, it's not only a great way to make new friends, but it's also a great place to keep in touch with old ones. Heck, you can even use it to build up your social networking to promote your business or hubs on there.
However, it also has it's flaws and can potentially hurt you if your not careful. That's why you should never post anything too personal on Facebook that could potentially get you hurt either financially or physically. Sure, we may all hate bosses sometimes, but you should never publicly say anything on a website where it could cost you; your job. Or anything that could lead a predator to find you and your child. Trust me, Facebook is an easy tool that can be used against you if your not careful with it. It's like Uncle Ben said when Spider-Man made his debut in Marvel Comics:
"With great power, comes great responsibility."
- Angie Varona - The Most Googled Teen in the World
Angie Verona, who has been described as the most Googled teenager in the world, became an unwilling internet pin-up at the tender age of 14, after uploading some risqué photos to Photobucket. Her account was then hacked and the photos released to the