Facebook profile safety


Author’s name

The purpose of this essay is to show the many dangers likely to beencountered by Facebook users due to the security breaches in thesite’s privacy settings. It will also highlight some of thecontemporary cases that have risen following the insecurity ofFacebook privacy settings. As it will be seen in this paper, Facebookhas become a forum for many internet-related crimes ranging fromassault to scamming to stalking. Unfortunately, a great percentage ofthe users are ignorant of what they share about themselves onFacebook not knowing that they make themselves vulnerable tointernet-based predators.

The introduction of new technology such as the social media haschanged people’s lives in the&nbspway they&nbspform friendshipsand share information. It has extended the traditional form offriendship to include virtual and physical friends. People&nbspcan&nbspmeetonline through friend requests despite the fact that they do not knoweach other and become&nbsppermanent&nbspfriends. Such people maynot or may never meet but may keep on sharing their information. Thisnew technology has impacted more on youths than adults. The researchcarried out in United States revealed that a single young person hasan average of 300 friends on Facebook and about 79 followers onTwitter (Dakin, 2014). This means that youths have trust on peoplethey have never met physically and are able to share any informationwith them. As a result, one’s privacy in such social media hasdeclined due to anyone accessing private information on one’saccount profile.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in 2010, acknowledged twopersonal data aggregation techniques known as &quotinstantpersonalization&quot and &quotconnections&quot. They showed thatall people could access data saved to Facebook profile even thoughthe information was not meant to be publicized. A connection is madeonce a user hits the “like” button for a service or producteither on a Facebook account or any other outside the site. The userthus has no privacy as Facebook treats such interactions as publicinformation, since the user`s identity is displayed on the Facebookpage of the server or product. Programs such as InstantPersonalization have at times been sharing Facebook information withaffiliate sites (Pegoraro, 2013). For instance, sharing the user’srecord of liked bands with a certain music website which ensures thatonce the user visits the website, their favorite songs playautomatically.

The above information points out that for those users who have notopted out then Instant Personalization becomes instant data leakage.Also, when a user visits these sites, their gender, current location,list of friends, photos and the pages they have liked are possible tobe accessed by Facebook and then treated as public information. Formuch worse, even when a user opts out of Instant Personalization,there is still leakage of data if their friends still uses InstantPersonalization websites. Their activities can leak personal detailsunless the user individually blocks those applications.

According to a report by CBS News On 27th December 2012, RandiZuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s sister criticized her friend for ‘notbeing cool’ in sharing her private Facebook photo on twitter, onlyto realize later that the photo had appeared on her friend’s friendnews feed. When commenting on this issue of Facebook’s privacy, EvaGalperin said that even Randi Zuckerberg can be mistaken. This showshow confusing Facebook privacy settings can be.

Numerous technological innovations have taken place, and one exampleis the internet. Currently, internet is the most efficient tool forbusiness transactions, communication, online networking and research.Internet has made it possible for people to participate&nbspinvarious events that we deem necessary for our lives. For now, thefocus is on the effect of Facebook as a social network which plays animportant role on the personal safety and security of all Facebookusers who use it as a social network (Roberts, 2008).

Private online security and safety by use of Facebook is a commonproblem due to numerous people getting access to the internet. Thevast majority of people create malicious posts, fake photos, fakenames and misused profiles.

The article “How safe is your Facebook profile?” which wasauthored by Wallbridge (2009) is a crucial scholarly source used toexplain the topic of the effect of the internet on individual’sFacebook profile privacy. The article is crucial since it illustrateshow social media has led to the lack of control on user’s personalinformation which affects other individuals’ private profiles.Facebook has always been prone to dangerous pictures, videos andonline threats formed random individuals. According to Wallbridge(2009), the placement of personal information on the World Wide Web,users make themselves vulnerable to online predators, providing theirinformation to third parties and in some cases, websites owningeverything an individual places on their profile page or friend’spage, including photos.

Many of these incidents are targeting the youths as their victims,who are not concerned on privacy and security of their Facebookaccounts. There are five main drawbacks of Facebook privacy settings.Firstly, the user’s information is often shared with third parties.Secondly, its privacy settings relapse to a less safe default modefollowing each redesign. Thirdly, Facebook ads more often than notcontain malware. Fourthly is that the user’s real friends make themunknowingly vulnerable. Lastly, scammers are daily creating fakeprofiles.

Since Facebook is the most common social site in modern society,security breaches are being created daily. This makes it insecurebut, unfortunately, not many people think it is when they log on andoff every day. On that account, some people can think Facebook as ayoung account and that the developers are on the process of solvingthe privacy issues. However, this notion may be biased since Facebookdevelopers may be having their own selfish endeavors of making money(Reinecke, 2011). They donot mind whether the users are pleased or not when their personalinformation is treated as public. Their goal is to make more money bysharing the same information with everyone else.

Another privacy problem with Facebook is the possibility of onlinecrime. According to a report by Internet Crime Complaint Center, $559million was lost to internet fraudsters in 2009. This was a hugeincrement from the previous year. This implies that ignorant Facebookusers are prone to identity theft or something worse such as assaultin the case of sharing personal information with a dangerousindividual whom you may have perceived as a ‘friend.`

A certain British police agency lately reported the number ofoffenses they have handled in the previous year concerning Facebookincreased to 346 percent. Of late, hardly a week goes by withoutsome fresh news related to Facebook security issues. Recently, apublication by the name TechCrunch came up with a security breachesthat enables the users to have access to their friend’sconfidential charts. It is not clear how long this security problemhad been open but whatever that duration, it is clear that was notsimple issue. Although Facebook fixed the problem later, that isenough proof to show how Facebook jeopardizes the users’ privacywith ease.

VeriSign`s iDefense Researchers uncovered a hacker who had beenselling Facebook passwords and usernames using an underground hackerforum. According to the estimates done, the hacker had approximately1.5 million accounts that he was selling between $25 and $45.Facebook is, therefore, often under attack from hackers who try tospam the countless users of Facebook, harvest their information orconduct other scams. There are numerous criticisms in the securitysociety of Facebook’s handling of security, and maybe the mostfrustrating issue is that that the company seldom replies toinquiries.

It is now clear that people have no private lives on Facebook. Thisis because there is evidence that third parties can get access topeople`s personal information. For example, not many may realize thatwhen playing the trendy games on Facebook such as Farmville, or thosetrendy quizzes, each time they do that, they unknowingly authorizeapps to be downloaded into their profile, and this leaks data tothird parties (Rob, 2013).

Facebook may also share information about clients with third partiesvia platforms such as Open Graph. Open Graph has become another ideafor Facebook. It was launched not so long ago at a conference. In thereal sense, it is the means of sharing the data in the users profilewith all sorts of third parties, for instance, partner websites, inorder for them to have a clear idea of the user’s interests andwhat they may be discussing, so they can (as they put it) ‘make itmore of a personal experience.` The idea behind Open Graph, eventhough it has not been implemented yet, is that it is an entirebusiness model. They are luring the users to get them share as muchdata as possible in order to gain monetary rewards by sharing it withadvertisers. The mission of Facebook is to make people share theirpersonal information with them so that they can benefit from it oncethey share it with advertisers. As it is now, the more informationthe users share, the more the company is making in terms profit fromthe advertisers.

According to Safe Smart Social (2013), there are numerous meansthrough which youths get troubled by using Facebook sites. Mistakesdone by youths include addition of their middle names, schoolsattended, emails, birthdays, and phone numbers on their profiles.This is regarded as private information on the user and is necessaryto mention on Facebook profiles. In regard to biasness,&nbsptheauthor is more concerned on the way youths misuse their Facebookapplication to be a threat to strangers and is always one-sided.

Despite the fact that the topic specifically provides illustrationson the troubles that majority of teenagers have endured through useof Facebook, majority of topics or headlines highlighted in the videoprovide insight into what educators and parents are supposed to doand why they need to discuss the social media with their children.The validity and applicability of information being discussed may bean efficient way of teaching children lessons on security andprivacy, and this will be of great assistance in ignoring the threatsarising from the use of social network sites from the internet(Zheleva et al., 2012). Inaddition, the ideas or information regarding parents guiding theirchildren is applicable to everyone regardless of one having differentreligious practice, or cultural perspective. Equally, it is alsoapplicable to people having conflicting interests that may affect theway they perceive the modern technologies in their daily lives.

Late in 2007, the code responsible for creating Facebook’s searchand home page as visitors surf the site was by chance made public.The problem arising from the configuration on the site’s serverresulted to display of the PHP code in place of the web page thatshould have been generated by the code. This issue raised concernsabout how safe, confidential information on Facebook was. It wasreported that an intruder to the site copied, printed and thenremoved the code from his internet forum, arguing that he had beenthreatened with official notice by Facebook. All that Facebook couldreply to this was that only an insignificant part of the code thatdisplays the site’s web pages was revealed to a few users becauseof a solitary not-well-configured server that was at once fixed. Theyclaimed that it was not a breach of security in any way and hence noinformation was compromised whatsoever (Wankel&amp Marovich, 2011). Since the code that was revealedpropagates only the site’s user interface, it offered no importantclues into the core dealings of Facebook. They also added that theconstant reprinting of this code could violate a number of laws andfor that reason they urged people not to distribute it further.

In November 2009, Facebook released Beacon, a system that couldenable third party websites to include a Facebook script on theirsites. The third parties were to apply the system to disseminate dataabout the workings of Facebook users on their website to Facebook.This brought grave privacy problems. Information, for instance, gamesplayed, and purchases made were printed in the user’s Facebookpage. An enlightening notice concerning this action was seen on thethird-party site, and the users had a chance to cancel it on the siteand also on the Facebook (Gutwirth,2011). Formally, if no measures were taken, the data wasautomatically printed. Nevertheless, on 29th November this waschanged to necessitate verification from the user prior to printingeach story compiled by Beacon.

On 1st December 2009, the credibility of Facebook considering theBeacon program was tested again when a report claimed that the NewYork Times ‘blamed’ Mark Zuckerberg for not telling them thetruth and leaving Coca-Cola (which is the repealing course on theprogram) a similar feeling. At CA Inc. security officer also assertedin a 29th November 2007 blog comment that Facebook gatheredinformation from associate sites even when the user was not loggedinto his Facebook site and even when the customer opted out. On 30thNovember 2007, a blog post by the CA security blog revealed aFacebook clarification report dealing with the use of informationgathered in the beacon program.

The report said that once a Facebook customer takes abeacon-facilitated action on a certain site, data is sent to Facebookso that Facebook can operate Beacon technologically. Again if aFacebook user hits ‘No thanks’ on the affiliate sitenotification, Facebook does not use that information and it discardsit from its servers. Discretely, prior to Facebook determiningwhether the client is logged in, some information may be conveyedfrom the active site to Facebook. In such cases, Facebook does notlink the data with any personal account, and hence deletes theinformation also. It is in September 2009 that the beacon serviceended together with the resolution of a class-action court caseagainst Facebook amounting from the service.

There are some ideas and thoughts concerning Facebook privacy thathas been developed in the blog developed by Poh in 2013. He statedthat approximately 600 million active people using Facebook are facedwith the notion of an information gap for each of them which havebeen taken&nbspin a&nbspnegligible manner (Dixon,2012). Nearly every person has a Facebook account whereeveryone posts his or her status adds photos and shares ideas andthe perceptions in their minds. Nonetheless, through creation ofFacebook accounts, people are publicizing their own life to otherswhere we are free to communicate, respond to others and interact withother people at random who also own a Facebook account. Anotherfault associated with Facebook is cyber stalkers. Cyber stalking doesnot only affect the online life of a person, but it also sometimesimplicates the offline life of a person. For instance, Facebook usersusually like to check in the places they wish to go and also friendscan check other friends’ places or posts the routine running routesthrough mobile phone applications, and hence they become easy targetsto stalkers (Hunter &amp Hunter,2012). Such information is accumulated and analyzed, andbecome useful for stalking victims who are mainly teens. It mayhappen to everybody but it happens to mainly the unfortunate people(Poh, 2013).

Through analyzing the blog developed by Poh (2013), it was more ofequal bias and treatment which distinguishes what is said to be anadvantage and disadvantage brought about by the use of Facebookapplication. The blog has dual reasons, first it is used to tell thereaders the advantages and positive effects which result from the useof Facebook, but the other one provides a warning to various Facebookusers concerning what it means by publicizing one’s life (Brown,2014). Therefore, the reason of using Facebook and beingresponsible for your actions is applicable to every Facebook user,whether you are of a certain class, age or status, for instance,whether you are poor or rich, adult or child and ordinary orcelebrity. Each person as equal opportunities and rights to life andany indifference need to be ignored since all of us are humans.

Another podcast that to Facebook safety and privacy is the oneinitiated The New York Times in 2010. It is mentioned that thefeatures of the Facebook applications are becoming more complicatedand difficult for people to understand, and its ability to showcaseonce profile account to the public is not appropriate because itexposes the user’s safety and privacy. According to the New YorkTimes (2010),

&quotFacebook is giving people more ways to share information andthat many people have misunderstood its innovations.&quot

In addition, there is a report that there has been double increase inusers using various social network sites for American households.From this, it is expected an increment in working sites likeFacebook. Analyzing the podcast, it can be concluded to initiatebiasness to increasing users of Facebook hence increase in dangersand threats have high chances of occurring without carrying out anyexperimentation or research. The main concept from the article is notapplicable to every individual, because there are various reasonsapart from increasing Facebook users. It may be for communication,business or related work that need uses of the internet.

In visiting the social networking sites especially Facebook, one mustbe reliable and accurate enough to hold pertinent information.Information, the raw material of knowledge, is the power. Hence, tohave reliable information is a form of power and strength over aspecific knowledge. Second, the test of reasonableness involvesexamining the information for consistency, objectivity, fairness, andmoderateness of information in a given way that the gatheredinformation answers the questions consistently and fairly.

In conclusion, is a trend that need toconsider while one is active in social network sites especiallyFacebook among teenagers. Every user of Facebook should take in mindthe worth of safeguarding other people`s profile accounts.Furthermore, the ability to invade one’s privacy has enabledvarious users to create fake accounts with unreal names orinformation to conceal their confidential information and avoid beingnoticed by people always on the run of posing threats. As a result,there is lack of secrecy and majority of people have ceased beingactive users.


Brown, T. (2014). Facebooksafety and privacy. NewYork: Rosen Central.

Dixon, B. (2012). Socialmedia for school leaders: A comprehensive guide to getting the mostout of Facebook, Twitter, and other essential web tools.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gutwirth, S. (2011). Computers,privacy and data protection: An element of choice. Dordrecht.The Netherlands: Springer.

Hunter, N., &amp Hunter, N.(2012). Internet safety.London: Raintree.

Pegoraro, Rob. (2013).You better watch out: How to set upyour Facebook privacy settings the secure way. Retrieved from:https://news.yahoo.com/facebook- privacy-settings-how-to-150256399.html

Poh, M. (2013). Facebook&amp Your Privacy: Why It Matters.[Web Log Comment]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.hongkiat.com/blog/facebook-privacy-matters/

Reinecke, L. (2011). PrivacyOnline: Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the SocialWeb. Berlin, Heidelberg:Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Roberts, R. (2008). 5 Things to Protect your Teens Online. GmaParent Alert. GoodMorning America (ABC),1.

Safe Smart Social. (2013, December 16). How teens get in troublein Facebook? [Video File]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVffA1qvORI

The New York Times. (2010, May 05). TechTalk Podcast: Facebook Privacy. Bits.Podcast retrieved fromhttp://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/tech-talk-podcast-facebook-privacy/?_php=true&amp_type=blogs&amp_r=0

Wallbridge, R. (2009). Howsafe your Facebook profile? ANUUniversity Research Journal,1. Retrieved 05, June 2014 fromhttp://eview.anu.edu.au/anuuj/vol1_09/pdf/11.pdf

Wankel, C., &amp Marovich, M.(2011). Educatingeducators with social media.Bingley: Emerald.

Zheleva, E. M., Terzi, E., &ampGetoor, L. (2012). Privacyin social networks. SanRafael, Calif.: Morgan &amp Claypool.