I’m a private person. I worry about the information I post online. I have a personal Facebook profile and a work Facebook profile to try to control the information seen by people in both sides of my life. I don’t post pictures of my kids, and rarely post pictures of myself and my wife.
Some would say that’s boring, and may be they are correct, but it is a matter of personal preference. Once an image(or information) is on the Internet it is out there forever. A personal photo of your children shared into the open can be copied and misused very easily.
An Amazing Phenomenon
Many of you would also have noticed the amazing phenomenon of the January 1 baby. I’m not sure exactly what happens on April 1… but… for some strange reason, on January 1 each year I get a “thousand” birthday reminders from Facebook. So either April 1 is a good night in, or a lot of people don’t trust their personal info in the public domain.
Many companies use date of birth as a security question when verifying your identity, so if someone has your name, date of birth, your email, and phone number they could quite easily gain access to financial accounts, change passwords, and wreak havoc with your identity. So it seems many people have wisely taken some precautions to keep their information private by using “January 1″ as their DOB on Facebook.
When you post your info on Facebook or other social networking sites, how do you know that the details you publicize will not be used for anti-social purposes like the scenarios above?
28% of Americans Don’t Update Their Facebook Privacy Settings
It concerns me that in June 2012 Consumer Reports released results from a survey that showed about 28% of Americans don’t update the privacy settings on Facebook. They also estimate that 5.8 million children under 13 years of age have a Facebook account, even though the age limit to use the service is supposed to be 13. This can potentially mean that anyone can contact them and anyone can see their personal details and photos.
It’s real easy to avoid being a target of identity theft or other fraud (my colleague Vic actually has a tip or two).
I’m a Facebook January 1 baby, are you? What other steps do you take to protect you online privacy?
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.