An interview with Professor John Aycock with the University of Calgary and Constable Kathy Macdonald from City of Calgary Police regarding social media and information sharing. It is important to understand security settings, sharing and visibility on social media websites. The interview touches on these topics, and I encourage everyone who has a profile on an online site, to become familiar with their settings, as well as know the settings of friends and family. The better you understand, the better you can protect yourself and others from the potential risks. If you find yourself a victim of any type of online harassment or crime, please gather evidence, refrain from further communication and contact the authorities.
It is true that most of us at this point have read the key things NOT to do on Facebook.
We know not to post vacation plans, share images of valuables, post our home address, share explicit photos, add strangers, or complain about our:
(5) significant other’s ex
What you may not be aware of is that while you are playing safe, someone on your friends list may not be, and that one person could grant hundreds of strangers access to your page.
For example, I have approximately 500 friends on Facebook, and I screen them to ensure that they are people I know and trust. The rule is, if I wouldn’t wave at you at a coffee shop, then you probably don’t belong on my FB . However, I have a teenager and I have friends who use their personal page for business, and these two elements could cause an issue.
Those friends, through their feed, have granted access to everyone on their list, and quite frankly, it is a safe bet that only a fraction of those so called “friends” are actually friends.
For example, through my stepchild’s Facebook page, I can view her friends and as most of them have fully accessible pages, I can view their friends. Now I am certain that my child’s friend, Rowan (named changed of course) is not at all concerned that I might creep her page.
However, Rowan’s mother would probably prefer that I not surf her family vacation pictures and know that she was in Dubai and Houston over the past year, or that she has three girls and two boys, and that I know approximately where they live and what they do… and I know this without really even trying, because I am not a creeper, just a social media geek.
Scary, right? I think so. So what do you do?
First thing is to talk to your kids and FB friends about privacy settings. I recommend that security should be set that only friends have access to your information (not friends of friends) and that your friends list be kept private. To do this, go to your profile – go to your “friends” list and click “edit”. As you can see, mine is “locked” (that would be the little padlock image there).
The second thing to do is if you are using FB for business, SET UP A BUSINESS PAGE! I know, maybe is seems egotistical to create a page around your personal business if you are a small operation, but please, get over it. It is not about you, it is about safety and security of your friends and family.
The moment you add strangers to your page, you give them access to information that may not be yours to share.