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Facebook - some things to consider before making full use of it.... Answered

As "A last Hurray" so to say I will do it one last time....
What am I doing exactly you wonder and why do I bother writing it here?
I will write a little story that is spiked with some information that I deem to be worthy to share.
And I do bother to show my friends, followers and those who care what might have been a weekly or even daily thing otherwise :)

At work recent changes and ongoing problems with our IT systems required that those who need contact with those in charge or above to sign up with Facebook.
I tried what I could but Emails appearently don't always show if someone actually ready them and it was down to keeping my job or refusing Facebook.
And yes, I tried to raise my concerns about privacy and control of it through the company...

Anyway, let us start, shall we?
Signing up for Facebook is as easy as asking Google for the name and to follow the obvious links.
But those who know me can confirm that I take privacy seriously and that I like to question why someone thinks they need certain information.
Which brings me to the point....
Anyone these days is on Facebook with one or more accounts - this includes your boss, manager or anyone interested in your name, resume or other background info.
Facebook provides just that, the chat and messages are as obsolete as anything else in terms of actually giving you privacy of any kind.
When I signed up and was dumb enough to use a well known Email provider for my account details, I was shocked by the following offer.
I was asked for my Email password to make signing in and finding friends easier!
A quick but endlessly long search through the terms and conditions confirmed that indeed everyone in my contact list would be mis-used for data collecting and referencing - including the content of my Emails.
Of course I had to reject this great function several times until Facebook got the massage that I like to keep control over my Email account.
Thinking this was already enough for the day I rejected images and other private info, like where I was born, where I worked and such before signing off.
Next day I suddenly had a list of friends as long as the shopping list of a childcare centre for thanks giving.
At first I though I don't know any of them until I started to do what Facebook wants and looked the people up.
Most where contacts I had on long dead messengers like the Yahoo! messenger.
You can understand my confusion until I realised I had used the same Emal account for those messengers.
Facebook simply reference their records of dead systems with my Email address and was happy to provide friends I really tried to avoid....
The hardest hit however was when I realised that even contact backups I did from my mobile, using Google services, appeared.
Thankfully most as possible friends but some directly added to my friends list, due to other links they found in their databases.
Needless to say that even several of my skype contacts showed up...
The last thing that confirmed why I avoided Facebook was the simple fact that all privacy options in the profile are set by default to public!

Of course, if you don't mind stripping down your privacy to the entire world while Facebook is using the data for not always legal purposes you shall be fine.
But if you only care a little then check the following, hopefully before stripping down:
1. Never, ever type your Email password into anything coming from Facebook - no matter what reasons they claim!
2. Before you complete your profile with address, phone number or similar, type in nonsense so you can get access to your account settings.
After all Facebook does not bother to offer you privacy before you finnish your details and keeps nagging about adding more so they get the vital data they need first....
3. Check all account settings in regards who has access!
Unless you really want to strip down noone but your friends should have any access to anything.
And even for that you should make sure to enable the function to review them before you allow them to show up on your page, history or elsewhere.

Things to always keep in mind:
1. Your account is not yours as Facebook has all rights to it, you can not even request to have your informations deleted from their databases or remove your account for good.
2. Anything your friends see on your page or profile they can share, like or comment on.
This means that even if don't like it, it can spread through the community within seconds and as a worst case ruin your life.
3. Anything Facebook does or offers, like games, recommendations, things you should know about, have only one goal: To gather more information about you.
Like for example using your Google cookies to find out what search for on the web or watch on Youtube....
4. Things you like attract more things you might like, again mostly to gather more info about you, your personality, preferences and your friends.

Ok, I know!
You are using FB for years, have tons of friends there and keep updated about every minute of their life they share...
So there is little to no chance to see what I am talking about LOL
But I would not post all this openly without a backup plan ;)
If you really dare to challenge me on this then you might have to waste several hours of your precious time, but I think it is worth your time!
This is how the game is played:
1. Find someone older who does have a vital Email life of sorts but so far no use for Facebook.
2. Ask kindly for his support on a test with Facebook that might require him to forawrd correspnding Emails to your account.
3. Clearly state that neither his email or FB account will be used to post anything, add friends manually or give out any info the person does not feel confortable to share.
4. Point out the possible benefits of having FB with the option to use the persons real name so he can continue using FB after the test if considered a good thing to have.
5. If you manage the above successfully then only use the provided name, email and residential address to create a new account.
6. Observe and wonder about the things to come.....

You will notice that usually quite soon possible friends or persons that could be connected show up.
Also that FB will continue to ask about the history, like schools, work, places.
If you do an online search on the name often takes less than a week to get a hit refering to FB.
The more info about the person you offer FB (with consent!!) the more people will show up to be considered.
At this stage and I guess in less than two weeks time after creating the account comes the question about how to continue.
Show the person what and who is already present in the created account and if there is an interest to keep the acount for personal use.
If so, kindly ask the person to add a friend or more, fill out more details, provide a picture and so on.
Hand over full control to the account either by asking the person to change the password and not let you see or know it.
Again, ask kindly to get some future updates, screenshot or similar to see how the account evolve, or add yourself as a friend and keep track that way.

I do not suggest in any way to create an account without consent!
This includes all activities that might seem harmless:
Don't use the identity of someone you "found somewhere"!
Don't create a fake account, especially not in the name of someone popular or someone that might be harmed in any way by your creation - the person might have good reasons not to appear on FB!
If you don't have Facebook already feel free to use to do the test with your own details!
Never, ever use pictures that are not your own or that you don't have the explicit permission to use even if you took them!


The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.

2 years ago

I am waiting for the horror people are going to feel when they find out that Windows 10 is gathering all their information and sending it to Microsoft. I have tried to tell people about it but I get a "so what, I have nothing to hide" response. So Microsoft is doing through a user agreement in windows what the government cannot do because it is an invasion of privacy. What happens when the government decides that it needs the information and hits Microsoft with a search warrant for everything. How about that, they can get everything on everyone without having to do any of the work.

This can get you started down the rabbit hole