Practice Safe Surfing

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in Social Media

by Sage

Practice Safe SurfingDo you practice safe surfing?

Have you spent time learning about what you’re getting into before clicking that login button?

Do you avoid potentially unsafe attachments no matter how tantalising?

If you do, you have made Mark Zuckerberg,  Simon Axten,  Sean Garrett, and a bunch of other social media big wigs very happy. In the world of social media, they believe that responsibility for security rests on the shoulders of the users.


In this world of over-the-top accountability, where is the line between platform usability and lazy web use? Let’s look at two recent Facebook incidents that, yet again, caused reason to be concerned about security and ask the question, who is responsible?

Incident #1 – 14 year old Girl accidentally invites everyone on Facebook to a birthday party at her mother’s apartment.

Fortunately, only 21,000 said they would attend but apparently that was enough to mobilise police at the expense of  Brighton’s tax payer.

The girl thought she was only inviting 15 friends and misread the event confidentiality instructions. It’s only a one click difference between making a Facebook event private or advertising it across Facebook and she messed up.

Facebook’s response

“When someone creates an event on Facebook it clearly says ‘anyone can view and rsvp (public event)’. If you leave this checked then it is a public event so anyone can view the content and respond.

If users do see content on Facebook that they feel is inappropriate or unsuitable We have clear reporting links on every page, including event pages, for users to flag it. We also provide people with the tools to manage their own content so with events for example, there are clear tools to allow you to control who can see and respond to the event”
(Facebook Spokesman)


Read the rules dummy.

Incident #2 – Scammers Fake Interpol’s Secretary General’s Account

Two fake accounts were set up for Robert K Noble, Interpol’s top man. Through one of the accounts, a scammer attempted to obtain confidential information about fugitives being targeted under an Interpol operation.

Facebook’s Response

“To combat these threats, we need people to practice safe behavior online,” says Facebook spokesman Simon Axten. “We advise people to be suspicious of anything that looks or feels strange – whether it’s an unfamiliar link in a message from a friend who hasn’t contacted you in a while, or a promise of something valuable if you take a certain action or provide personal information.”

(Simon Axten, Facebook)


don’t fall for scams dummy

Other platforms doing the same thing

Whether the result of a security hole or user error, security breaches are increasing and it would be unfair to treat Facebook as the only platform with an iffy record. Google Buzz, Twitter, and MySpace have all come in for their share of negative publicity this year.  Twitter notably is facing its second massive virus attack in a week due to a flaw in its code.

In sync  with Facebook’s  stance on user security, Sean Garrett, Twitter’s VP Communications,  recommends reading Twitter’s usage rules and best practices guidelines as a first precaution against propagating the virus.

So, what some call security flaws, others label poor web use.

Who’s right?