Saturday 15 September 2012

Facebook: private, public

I've been seeing quite a few of the 'find your profession by birth' postings recently, and they make me uneasy. Bear in mind that if you are at all concerned about the possibility of identity theft, your date of birth is one of the first things needed by the thief. Add your full name and they're partway there. I don't know how much detail this particular 'game' goes into - for obvious reasons, I shan't be trying it out myself - but if you are looking at it, ask yourself how much information you want to share with non-friends.

You may also find it helpful to read this article on the very useful Facecrooks site.

What I find particularly interesting is that in the same week, there's been another one doing the rounds - totally at the opposite end of the spectrum:

"To all my FB friends, may I request you to PLEASE do something for me: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. However, with the recent changes in FB, the public can now see activities in any wall. This happens when our friend hits "like" or "comment", automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. So I need your help.... Only you can do this for me..... PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS" (also without clicking), then down to "Settings", click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the TICK on "COMMENTS & LIKE" by clicking on it. By doing this, my activity amongst my friends and my family will no longer become public. Many thanks! If you would like to protect your privacy Copy and Paste this on your wall and your contacts can follow suit too."

What will happen if you follow the instructions above? You won't see the comments and likes of this particular friend. That's all. If they are real friends, it rather defeats the object of linking up with them on Facebook at all. For more details on this particular bit of nonsense, Facecrooks help us again here.

I'm just waiting for the first time I see both of the above being posted by the same person, who is panicking about their posts being seen beyond their own friend circle but at the same time will gladly give out a date of birth to a complete stranger.