The Ugly Side of Social Networking: Have You Checked Your Privacy Settings?
I know there has been a lot of media coverage about cyberbullying and with the new movie/documentary Bully coming out, I hope there will be even MORE awareness and coverage about this, but there is also another incredibly scary side of social networking sites and the amount of access to information there really is out there, brought to light by a recent UBC app* and then what I just came across today (ironically a friend shared it on Facebook), another app called Girls Around Me.
There is a great, detailed article about the app that you can check out called This Creepy App Isn’t Just Stalking Women Without Their Knowledge, It’s A Wake-Up Call About Facebook Privacy [Update] that explains how it works etc., but the principal message is watch what you post and who can read it. Too many people are naive about putting their information online and they don’t seem to check their privacy settings and ensure they don’t plaster contact info, locations, etc. everywhere online.
What creeps me out is that the site homepage wording seems to imply that the ‘check ins’ are related to the app/by consenting users of the app itself, instead of highlighting that these people don’t know that the information they’re using on other sites (e.g. Facebook) is being pulled into this app. Of course people are responsible for their own safety, but this seems just plain unethical.
I’ve been leery of Facebook Places and have NO desire to use Foursquare or any other check in or location based tool, but many people don’t seem to have the same qualms, nor think about the implications while they merrily provide the world with information on their every move.Kudos to Foursqaure, though, they’ve banned the application and have stopped the app developers from accessing Foursquare user information – a small victory!
It certainly is the ugly side of social networking; despite the fantastic access to information and the potential for knowledge sharing, there is such a thing as too much information! You don’t want to become a target. So check those privacy settings NOW, and educate yourself.
Be safe out there.
*I’m trying to locate information on this – I saw it on the news recently but haven’t been able to find any info about it – I’ll update you when I find the name and some more concrete details.