Displaying your personal information on Facebook to millions of potential connections online likely sounds like a good way to gain exposure and make new friends. However, it can also be rife with risks. Signing up for a Facebook account and creating a public profile have several dangers of which potential users should be aware, including the risk that your personal information will fall into the wrong hands. The potential exists for the wrong people to see certain pieces of information that you decide to post.
Facebook is a social networking site; it’s one of the premier websites that people use to socialize, share information and connect with friends and acquaintances. When you join Facebook, you create a profile that displays various pieces of personal information, including your relationship status, political views and contact information. Depending on the privacy settings you implement on the site, this information can be hidden from your friends on Facebook, displayed to some of them or broadcast to everyone, friend or not, on Facebook.
A Culture of Sharing
While sharing information with your friends and new acquaintances is often fun, Facebook cultivates a culture that encourages the sharing of everything, from your personal thoughts to your physical location. Because colleagues, parents and children, and bosses and employees are often friends on Facebook, this can lead to serious problems. Posting an angry message about your family in the heat of the moment or broadcasting your private thoughts about your job can be a quick way to face repercussions at work or problems at home.
Scams and Time Wasting
Facebook can also be addictive. The constant updates on the site and its ease of use make it a popular destination for employees bored at work or students sick of studying. Facebook can easily go from a fun, interactive site to a serious procrastination tool. That procrastination tool is also dangerous. Facebook can be used by con artists posting under a fake profile or other people who aren’t who they say they are to contact you, befriend you and do you harm.
Facebook does have some privacy settings that you can tweak to keep any personal information displayed in your profile under wraps. However, there are a multitude of opportunities to unwittingly give away that information. Many of the applications you can use on the site will access information from your profile and use it in their operations. That means even privacy-protected information is now being used by untrusted Facebook applications.