Facebook Improves Safety Info

April 14, 2010  |  Facebook

Any way you slice it, it’s a massive number:  400 million.  That’s how many people use the social networking site “Facebook”.  The question is, how safe are we and how secure is the information we post?  These are major concerns for all of us, but in particular for millions of parents around the world… Parents who routinely toss and turn at night worrying about their high-tech children and the criminals who may be trying to take advantage of them online.  In a bid to help, the execs at Facebook have come out with a more user friendly  “Safety Information Centre” .  How does it work?  Come with me and check it out… (More…)

The Safety Information Centre now offers tips from safety advocacy organizations, and specific advice for parents, teenagers, teachers, and law enforcement officers.   For example, Facebook is now advising teens not to give out their password to anyone, and warns: “Unless you’re prepared to attach something in your profile to a resume or scholarship, don’t post it.”  This one caution alone could be enough to change the tone of the social networking site for multi-millions of teenagers who have been putting all kinds of inappropriate discussion “out there” for all the world — and their future employers — to see.

And adults aren’t off the hook here, either.  I’m sure all of us can recall at least one discussion we’ve gotten involved in on FB that we regretted at the end of the day.   Seriously.  In our hearts, we knew it was true…  “If you can’t put it on a billboard for everyone you know to read, you shouldn’t send it into cyberspace.”  But somehow we convinced ourselves that Facebook was different… more “private”.  If anything, it was LESS private.  It just took us awhile to wake up and smell the coffee.

Also included in the new and improved “Safety Info Centre” is information on privacy settings, bullying, blocking abusive behaviour, and explanations of mechanisms now in place for reporting potential terrorist activity and suspected registered sex offenders.

Back in early 2008, Facebook signed an agreement with the attorney generals of 49 different states in the US, agreeing to do a better job of protecting youth on the site from online predators.  This is the latest effort to improve security.  Was it too long in coming?  Maybe.  Who knows?  But now that it’s here, we have a responsibility as Facebook users.  We need to take 15 minutes out of our busy day, READ all this info and put the advice into ACTION.  Hard to believe, but it could actually save your life or the life of someone you love.

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  1. Dorie and Macie… Awesome comments… I think it’s interesting that you and the other Boomers commenting today are all coming at this from a “the world is a dangerous place” perspective. And what you two both say is so true — Teens do have FB habits and it WILL be hard to change them – improved safety info or not. Which, when you think about it, may be the most frightening part of this whole thing.

  2. It’s about time facebook updated their saftey policy! Giving teens saftey tips and guidlines is a good idea, but it came a bit late – teens now have FB habits and it will be hard to change them. I’d be suprised if teens even know FB gave saftey tips, and if they do know, I doubt they would care to take the time to read them. (you can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink)
    Hopefully, for their own benefit (and people in general), they will follow the new saftey tips. I have a friend who recently got fired from her job because her employer saw inappropiate images/posts on her wall. We have to be careful out there in cyberspace, you never know who’s watching.

  3. I’ll be pleased to read this post when I search Google for my name or your name Karen, or Mark. Point is, if you don’t want anyone to read your stuff, don’t write it. Assume anything you write on a wall, or message board is going to be read. I spend more time worrying at night about my hydro bill. Again, teenagers do NOT think before they post on Facebook. They post, then they leave their walls open and don’t make settings private. Great suggestion to once again remind people to look at the safety settings!! (gee maybe I’ll go have another look!)

  4. Hi, Alvin… You’ll find on the Facebook site…
    Here’s the address: http://www.facebook.com/help/?safety
    The page is titled: “Welcome to the Safety Centre”.
    Happy reading!

  5. Karen, Where is the Safety Information Centre you mentioned?

  6. Marianna… Thanks for the kudos! Are parents in Britian as freaked out about Facebook safety as they are in North America? Let us know…

  7. EXACTLY, Mark. It SHOULD be called “Everyone Can See You Naked Book”. The problem is that teenagers don’t see anything WRONG with the world seeing them naked — and THAT’S what we need to nip in the bud. The technology will always be there to allow people to do stupid things. Drive a precision sports car at 180 km/hr and chances are you’re going to kill yourself or someone else. Tell the world on Facebook that you’re going on vacation for two weeks and someone WILL rob your house. We need to drum into these teenagers’heads that doing the stupid thing is NOT an option… EVER. The younger ones have spent most of their teen life immersed in this culture of connectivity that says it’s okay to blah-blah-blah about anything and everything, and show the pictures to prove it. You might as well put a sign outside your front door that says “I am your next victim, Mr. Predator. Come on inside.” It’s a huge societal problem that is screaming to be fixed.

  8. There’s been a rumour of the Koobface virus linked to postings on FB over in Europe. It is imbeded into weblinks that leave FB and go to another site, usually with the promise of a funny video. Loving your insights into the Web…you expand my horizons, well done.

  9. Perhaps if instead of calling it “Facebook” it was called “Everyone can see you naked-book”, some of the idiots that post their lives, and allow their children to do the same unsupervised…would smarten up. WE ARE STILL ANIMALS. PREDATORS. We might have credit cards, and manicures and for some awful reason Entertainment Tonight…but we still carry the genes of hunters. Naively exposing ourselves to attack (digital or otherwise) invites the alphas of the human pack to do what they are programmed to do. And then we are SURPRISED by this? Get off Facebook and read a real book.

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