The concept of social media was so innocent when it was introduced to us. They promoted, hey, let’s produce a platform where you can catch up with all your friends. Sounds like a great idea, right? That meant putting lots of personal information on there, like date of birth, phone number, home address …. Whoa, put the brakes on … phone number and home address?
As you all know, Cambridge Analytica was able to extract possibly all of that information, when some survey was posted on Facebook. I mean this not only allowed people to share information, but it also extracted information from their friends, who didn’t even participate in the survey in the first place.
So I immediately turned off the ability for 3rd party applications to communicate through my Facebook profile (I may actually do the same thing for Twitter and Google Plus as well). Will that help? Who knows. One thing I did notice is that when I tried to share my Instagram posts directly from my phone, it didn’t allow it. I guess that confirms that it does do the job … but I think it may be a matter of a little too little, a little too late.
I then started to look at my other privacy settings, and more specifically the ads settings. What I didn’t realize was each application that you click “like” will add to the source of where ads will get posted to you. Holy shit!!!! I had probably 20 sites, that was not high on my interest list, that could possibly be posting an ad. Sheesh … I immediately turned that off.
Next I looked at some of what my friends’ settings are, and wow .. under contact info, I saw that many of them included their home street address and phone number. If someone just viewed your profile, and saw your basic contact info, they can start spamming you like crazy, calling you, even visiting you at your home. The default setting is for everyone to see your profile information. That is bad …
So this is why I cringe when looking back at Social Media. I’m too deeply into it now, but the first thing I would do is restrict who can access my profile. Second, remove any personal information that can be spread to cause harm, like home address, phone number, and will probably be removing a few more in the future.
Facebook is not alone in this … Twitter is not quite as bad, but I still have some issues with them. I chose to require 2 factor authentication for all my Social Media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus). However, with twitter, the 2nd factor is via SMS text messaging, which means I have to put my cell phone in there. The cell phone is in my twitter profile. However, if someone got access to my profile, they can retrieve that info, and start spamming me. What I really wish, that Twitter will do, is provide 2nd factor via push authentication (like what Google, and WordPress does). I really don’t like the fact that the 2nd factor code is done via SMS, which can be hacked easily. I really think push authentication for 2FA is the way to go. I only wish more apps could adopt this.
Anyhow, enough of my rant. The point of this blog is to be very leery of the information you share on Facebook, Twitter, or any other Social Media platform. Now back to doing more house chores.