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The Dangers of Facebook: More Dangers That You Should Know
After the resounding success of my last hub based on the dangers of Facebook, one person asked me how I would go about making a sequel to it if you will. To be quite honest, I wasn't exactly sure how to because I thought I covered all the dangers involved in the popular social network. However, it has come to my attention that I haven't. In fact, there's more dangers to the site than I previously thought that many of you readers out there should be aware of. After talking to a few people that I know, whom work in Human Resources for various companies, I have recently learned of not only many other ways on how Facebook could cost you a potential job or get you fired, I also have come to learn how it can potentially ruin the lives of your children as well if your not too careful.
Unlike my last hub on this topic, I doubt seriously it'll get many positive receptions, due to the fact that many of my fellow writers here value the concept of freedom of speech so much. However, the sad reality is freedom of speech doesn't exactly exist in the United States, at least completely. Sure, we have more freedom to speak out than any other country in the world, but you'll be surprised on how little free speech rights we actually have in this country. Take in mind, Politicians are nothing more than generically high priced car salesmen, where they try to sell you an image of what America is or could be, but that's not reality. I'm sorry, but that's not the truth.
The reality is that America is a capitalist country first and foremost that's ran by big businesses and corporations; thus, they're free to hire and fire as they see fit. Sure, we can debate all day on how the government can install programs and laws to stop corporations from doing such things, but they won't....or can't, as I should say. Believe it or not, businesses have more power in this country far more than our own government. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at taxes then, as you'll notice corporations, like for the auto industry, will often move their businesses overseas anytime the taxes are raised. Sure, it helps them save money on labor costs, but it screws over the working class, as it takes away potential jobs here. Plus, there's the issue of insider trading and price fixation when it comes to the stock market. Sure, it's highly illegal in this country, but corporations always manage to find loopholes through it anyway. Like did you know that in some countries price fixing is legal? Therefore, there's always loopholes around the laws in this country; whether we choose to see it or not.
That's why it's not a good idea to naively assume that just because we live in the United States that we're free to say whatever the hell we want because the truth is......WE DON'T.
Guilty by Association
Out of all the issues I'm going to get into on this hub, this is the one that disturbs me the most. Don't get me wrong, I understand the issue completely, but I just don't agree with it. However, it seems, in an era where employers are using social networking sites to see who to hire and who to fire, you can potentially lose your job for being friends with the wrong people on Facebook. Yes, I'm dead serious. Please, don't be offended, as this is just what I heard and researched.
The reality is if your friends with someone on Facebook, and that person happens to be involved in drugs and crime, then it might be a good idea not to add them as your friends. Why? It's simple. Guilt by association. Employers often generalize when they look at social networking profiles and if they see that you associate with alleged criminals then by association, they might think you're a criminal too, or you might be involved in the same questionable activities. Not that I'm saying that would ever be the case, but I'm merely stating the sad reality about our society.
My best advice to you is to only add people on Facebook who you know that you can trust, and to make your friends list set to private. This way anyone that isn't already your friend on Facebook won't be able to see your friends list. Or if you need to have a public Facebook profile to promote your online business, then my only advice to you is to choose your friends very carefully. Don't add anyone that you think might display questionable behavior, as it'll only cost you down the road.
Being Too Opinionated
Again, like the last topic, this is another one that I don't agree with, but it's something that many people need to acknowledge. Remember what I said about free speech earlier? Well this is exactly what I was talking about. Although we're technically considered the land of the free, the reality is that we're not. Anyone who claims otherwise, they fail to see reality for what it truly is. Unlike people who are employed by Federal and State jobs, where their jobs are relatively safe, people working in the private sector really don't have as much free speech, as one might think.
Therefore, if you find yourself debating with someone in an online forum or on a public Facebook page, then my best advice to you is to try to be as politically correct as humanly possible. Don't say petty things to insult them, or insinuate a lack of comprehension and/or intelligence just because they don't agree with you. The reason I mention this is because if your employer or potential employer finds what you say offensive, then they do have rights to terminate you or elect not to hire you. Therefore, it's very important that you always respect the person your talking to, even though they may not be the brightest person in the world to you. The reality is unless your starting your own business, then you need to be politically correct at all times online.
Or, you can elect not to say anything online about any controversial subject matters. This is probably the best method to avoid such an issue completely. Sure, you may not like the idea, but what choice do we have? After all, employers have every right to terminate you legally if you say something controversially offensive online, unless you have tenure or work for a government job. Therefore, it's best to keep your mouth shut online about anything controversial. If someone opens up a controversial topic in an online forum, then ignore it. Nobody is forcing you to participate, and you won't risk getting involved into a debate where you might end up saying things that can be used against you. Just look at it this way, those people that your debating with aren't paying your bills, so why do you even care what they think?
The important thing is that you believe what you believe, so it shouldn't matter to you what other people say. Let them talk. Besides, they're only going to hurt themselves by continuously talking about controversial subject matters. Of course, this also equates back to the previous topic, "guilty by association", as being friends with a person that often likes to post too many controversial opinions online could cost you, your job. For example, if your friend likes to always make outlandish racist jokes all the time, and your employer sees that your friends with them, then by association it won't look good on you. If anything, they might associate that you feel the exact same way about their opinions. Therefore, it's probably not a good idea to become friends with anyone that likes to say a lot of offensive jokes online. Of course, you can always set your friends list to private to avoid the issue completely, and it'll give you freedom to become friends with whoever you want on Facebook. However, if you need to have a public profile to promote your online blogs and business, then I wouldn't add anyone that can't be politically correct.
Anyway, I apologize to anyone that feels offended by this topic, as I know it's not an easy one to swallow. However, it's still one that desperately needs to be addressed.
Don't put too much information online
Identity theft is a common thing these days, and it's a lot easier for hackers to steal your identity off social networking sites. This is why you should never use your full name, address, phone number or volunteer unnecessary information online. Any computer hacker can easily steal all the information you put up on your Facebook page, and use it to steal your identity. Easily filling in the blanks of whatever you don't put if you provide things like your address, phone number and full name. That's why it's often best to either use an alias or never use your full name at least, and to keep your Facebook page kept private. This way only your friends on there can see your information.
Of course, this also goes for pictures as well. Believe it or not, people can easily steal your photos online and use them to pass themselves off as you. Yes, there's been various studies and incidences where things like this have been prone to happen. This is another reason why you should never post your real pictures online either, or keep them private to where only your friends can see them. Otherwise, your only putting yourself at risk of them getting stolen.
This one should be pretty self explanatory, as there's a lot of dangers associated with online dating. Although Facebook technically isn't a dating site, it still does allow the opportunity for many users to meet and date online through it's regular site, or it's affiliates like "Zoosk." This goes back to what I previously mentioned in my last hub based on the dangers of facebook, where not everyone is always who they claim to be online. Therefore, when you meet someone special online through Facebook, it's important to remember that not everyone is always honest about who they really are. After all, a fat middle aged man could easily pretend to be a slender voluptuous barely legal teenage girl online, and the boy they're trying to seduce would be none the wiser.
Therefore, it's very important that when it comes to online dating through Facebook or any other site, for that matter, you should always keep in mind that there's always a possibility it won't work out. Until you meet the person face to face, you'll never know for sure. That's why it's often best to take things slow when you meet a person online and if you both have cams, then that will help avoid any doubts as to whether you'll be mutually attracted to each other once you meet. Another tip to consider when meeting a person online is to meet in a secure location when meeting them in real life for the first time.
The reason I bring that up is because you only know them based on what they told you, so they could be insane for all you know. Therefore, if you agree to meet with them in a private place, they could turn out to be a vicious stalker that was lying to you, so they could potentially hurt you. Therefore, have them agree to meet you in a public place; preferably one with lots of people. This way, it'll grant you a safe environment to meet and get to know the person in real life; without any fear of your safety being compromised.
Fake Accounts that Could Hurt Your Kids
From analyzing and researching various articles online, there's been countless of evidence that pedophiles and child stalkers often use Facebook to look for their victims. What makes it even worse is that a tech savvy pedophile could easily open up a dummy Facebook page pretending to be a kid themselves, to seduce your child into a romantic relationship. In the case of one child reported by Yahoo, there was an underage teenage girl who met a charming and sweet boy online. However, when they arranged to meet, the boy turned out to be a middle aged pedophile that tried to rape her. Cases such as these are not as uncommon as you think, as incidences like these happen all the time; particularly since sites like Facebook give pedophiles all the tools needed to coerce your child into a bad situation.
This is why I suggest you talk to your children about the dangers of online dating, and explain to them that everyone they meet online is not always going to be who they claim to be. Sure, it's easy for a child during their teenage years to fall in love, as most teenagers are often emotionally insecure about themselves. However, the person on the other end might not even be a child or have your child's best interests at heart. That's why it's very important you talk to your kids about this issue, so they'll know about the potential dangers of dating a person online. Or, encourage them to try to date people in real life instead more. After all, a child is often too immature to decide if a person online is truthful or not. Heck, even some adults aren't able to decipher that either. That's why it's probably best during their early teenage years, to encourage them to date exclusively in real life if you do allow them to date at all.
Another method you can use to protect your child is to have a monitoring system installed on your computer. This allows you to monitor your child's e-mails and sites they visit, so you'll be aware of what's going on when they surf the web. Of course, I would only recommend this method if your child tends to be rebellious, then it might work to your advantage to keep them safe. However, if you trust your child and don't want to invade their privacy, then it's important that you talk to them about the dangers of online dating. After all, the child's safety should be the first priority here.
Computer Viruses and Malware
Although this can be a severe issue on almost any internet site out there, it should come as no real surprise that Facebook is also an ideal setting for hackers to send out malware and viruses to your computer/laptop. Take in mind, that many hackers can often put up links on your wall to where if you click on it, it sends you to a website that allows a hacker to steal your log in information. This is why it's extremely important that you should only click on sites that you know are safe. If someone sends you a link to upgrade your security on your PC, then please always refer back to the source to upgrade your system. Like if you get a link to upgrade your MSN or Firefox explorer, then go to the main page to upgrade it, and never trust the link that someone gives you on your Facebook. Sure, they may appear to be your friend. But, how do you know that someone didn't hack into their account to give you that vicious link, so they hack yours too. Therefore, if you ever receive a link to upgrade your PC, you always go back to the source. Never trust a link provided to you through your wall on Facebook, unless it's either from a site that you can trust or if you're already expecting the link from your friend. Otherwise, leave it alone or delete it. Trust me, you'll be a lot better off.
As I stated previously in my last hub on this subject, I hope that I haven't discouraged anyone from using Facebook. After all, it's still a great site to keep in touch with your friends while making new ones. However, there's still a lot of dangers associated with it that many people need to be more aware of. Some of you may not like what I said previously during this hub, nor want to believe it, but it's still the truth. Whether we choose to acknowledge any of it or not is irrelevant.
However, with all great innovations in society, there's always a potential for harm as well if that innovation falls into the wrong hands. That's why it's up to all of us to make sure we protect ourselves from such circumstances.