Earlier this year, Facebook registered its 500 millionth user and became undisputed king of social networking. The site’s popularity is increasing every day but so are the concerns about its lax policy towards marinating user’s data confidentiality. This especially is true in case of adolescents, who generally end up posting less-than-desirable pictures and status on this site. Facebook implements minimum age requirement for registration, but of its underage users manage to get through that hurdle. Lately, there had been lots of news regarding cyberspace bullying on Facebook and thus protecting your identity and online persona on Facebook has become important. Don’t fret, it is not a difficult task. If you follow the below given guidelines, you can protect not only yourself but also the younger members of your family:
Tweak Your Settings: Once you create your profile, tweaking your privacy settings should be the first thing to do. You should consider making your profile, information and photographs available only to your ‘Friends’. This will greatly reduce the chances of your information falling into wrong hands.
Add Only Trustworthy People: The above guideline will be effective only if you are careful whom you add to your friend’s list. Do not add random unknown people to your friends list. You should also carefully vet your children’s friends list to see if there are any suspect people luring in there.
Add Only Trustworthy Applications: The above point of precaution extends to the applications as well. Various publications such as the Wall Street Journal etc. have reported about how some Facebook applications stealthily collects your personal data. Therefore, before you give permission to a program for playing that new ‘awesome’ game, you should make sure that the program is coming from a trustworthy company. It will also be helpful if you restrict the number of applications you install.
Put the Minimal Information Only: Generally information such as home address, date of birth, parent’s name is considered very sensitive. Therefore, it would be better if you do not post such information to your profile. Also avoid making revealing status update such as plans for your upcoming vacations etc.
Maintain Offline Safety: If you befriend any person online that you have not met before, then the best strategy is to meet them in some public space. Do not make plans to meet at any secluded place or someone’s house.
Choose Your Password Carefully: According to several surveys, it has been proved that most of the users have very unsafe passwords. If you use an unsafe password, then it is easy for hackers to break into your account. Such breaking in can lead to severe consequences, as the hackers may not only steal your data but may also compromise your profile.
Be Pro-Active: If despite all the precautions, you believe that your account has been hacked, then the best course of action would be to change your password. Not only you should change your Facebook password but you should change the passwords for all the other services too. You should then completely scan your computer to weed out any Trojans or Virus on your computer.
Image Courtesy: Facebook