Facebook, earlier this year or probably last year, introduced the Timeline profile. It is one of the new features of Facebook that I like and dislike too. Lol. What a conflict, right? Well I have my reasons. It’s actually not why I am writing today.
Facebook Apps however are another feature that I dislike especially the third party ones. I don’t know if that is the price everyone has to pay for being on Facebook but the simple truth is Facebook puts the secret of your privacy in the hands of third party applications without you even knowing it.
Do you know that when you sign up for some third party Facebook Apps, they can use your name and profile information for ads they don’t pay you for? Oh yeah! Now let’s imagine the worst case scenario. Imagine someone with a really bad motive (e.g. a hacker) owns a special third party app; imagine what he could do with your profile info with just one single click. Believe me, you can’t imagine enough.
That is why there is always a clarion out there for you to watch what you click. I have a post titled “How Safe Are You?” I recommend you read it and arm yourself with knowledge. What you don’t know might actually damage you. So why not know?
For some others who don’t know what Facebook Apps is, let me paint a good picture. Have you ever tried using a link that claims that it can tell you how many people have viewed your profile? Oh yes, you get it? Maybe not, okay. How about one that asks you to get a laptop because a friend of yours just got one? Yes. That one too! Facebook has it that when you click on these kinds of links, you get a message that tells you that the app will have access to your profile information, your photos and could even post status updates for you! But I’m sure you used to see that but still you click “ALLOW” because of the curiosity. You know the English were not wrong after all; they say ‘Curiosity killed the cat.’
I myself have once been a near-victim of the spam click. I had to take precautionary measures right away. I have friends and colleagues who have been victims of the spam click and found it difficult to regain their accounts anymore. How do you protect yourself?
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true offers on Facebook. I have always told myself this: there is nothing absolutely free on the internet. And that is a fact! If it seems too good, it may just be a trap.
- Never attempt to click on any link except you are sure of it, even if it is recommended by a friend.
- Facebook is not your personal archive. Don’t treat it as such. Try not to leave vital information in your profile information e.g. your residential address, your phone number, your e-mail etc. They could be just what the spammers need to achieve their means.
- Tune up your privacy settings. Set your profile settings to “Friends only” or if possible a few select people. Even though it is not a 100 percent guarantee, it helps.
- Be mindful of your status updates. I believe you can’t stand in the middle of the road, shouting “I’m travelling to Ibadan tomorrow.” If you do that on Facebook, it’s as synonymous as making a public announcement on the road.
- If you use a public computer to access your email or your social networking accounts, ensure you log out completely, always.
- Pay attention to safety tips. They are your sure ticket to living safe on the internet.
Now don’t get me wrong. Not all these apps are bad but you just got to be on the lookout. You never know when you get into the clutches of the wrong one. Whether or not we want it, the internet has become a world on its own. If you can learn how to stay safe in the outside world, the internet is no exception.