My best friend recently posted photos of her daughter “Angela” on Facebook. Angela is adorable; she’s 6 going on 16. It’s been a pleasure having the privilege of watching her grow up through Facebook, as Angela lives halfway around the world from me.
Something disturbed me about the pics though. I know Angela was just being silly as she struck a faux “sexy” pose for the camera in a few shots, showing off her new tank top with a lacy back. She’s just an innocent 6-year-old. And I know her mom thought sharing the pics would give us a chuckle and some insight into her silly 6-year-old. But it got me thinking: besides her mom’s best friends and myself, how many people can see these photos?
How many creepy sexual predators are also looking at Angela?
Did her mom set the privacy settings on the album for “Friends Only”? Can “Friends of Friends” also see the album? Or worse yet, are the pics “Public”? If it’s the latter, how many creepy sexual predators are also looking at innocent little Angela but thinking very differently about the pics than I am?
This situation is problematic, because if those pics of Angela are publicly available, all a sexual predator has to do is check out my friend’s Facebook profile to see where Angela and her mom live, hang out or “check in” to catch a glimpse of little Angela in the flesh. That’s too close for comfort for me.
A third of Facebook users don’t use any privacy settings
If you’re reading this security blog, you are hopefully among those who use privacy settings on their Facebook profile. But about 1/3 of Facebook users actually don’t use the privacy settings, and half of users have no idea those privacy settings even exist. Recent site changes can mean that you have to update your Facebook know-how. Keeping up with privacy settings doesn’t have to be difficult.
Facebook is a great and powerful tool for us to keep up with friends and family both near and far. Unlike a car where you need training and a license to operate a powerful motorized vehicle safely, operating Facebook requires no license and no training, making it easy to surf, post and play recklessly within the social media site, potentially putting the safety and identity of yourself and your family at risk.
Making Facebook privacy settings easy
Have no fear, help is here. Trend Micro makes navigating Facebook privacy settings easy. With a click of the button, you can identify any potential privacy concerns on your profile with the new Facebook privacy scanner in Trend Micro Titanium Security 2013. To make it even easier, if you “Like” Trend Micro on Facebook, you can get a six month free subscription today, giving you the opportunity to get your Facebook privacy settings right where you want them.
Oh, and after speaking with Angela’s mom about my concerns, she’s going to be our first customer.
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.