Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Facebook May Not Be For Everyone


A few years ago I joined Facebook to write about privacy issues with their Beacon advertising system. I was quickly sucked in by the fun, convenience and easy ability to keep in touch with family and friends. I really enjoy the ability to share photos and even love to see vacation photos and cute babies from people I don’t really know in real life. While I am continuing to use Facebook, it may not be for everyone.

One of the aspects of Facebook I’ve never advocated are “applications”. While I appreciate the thought, don’t be hurt if I don’t accept your hugs, glitz, jewels, pets, drinks or farm animals.  While this may be fun for millions it’s not why I use Facebook.

barnbuddyWhat most people don’t realize is that “Applications” aren’t part of Facebook. They’re created by 3rd party companies. When you agree to downloads an application, you share your info with a company which may have a completely different security and privacy terms as Facebook.

Everyone should keep in mind you don’t have to accept every request on Facebook. Of course, I’m against Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Cancer but I also won’t join a cause on Facebook which has access to my personal info. It’s ok to click on Ignore.

If you’re new to Facebook, the first place you need to visit even before uploading your face is the Privacy Settings menu. “Facebook takes your privacy seriously but you need to do your part.


Here’s an example of your options on who you want having access to your personal info.



Some time ago I created a “Fans of WinPatrol” page and promoted it as a way to share WinPatrol news. I’m pleased to say that Fans of WinPatrol has hit 1000 today. I will continue to promote Fans of WinPatrol to those already using Facebook but I have stopped promoting it on and other related websites. “As a security vendor there are too many dangers on Facebook to advocate its use”.

Facebook isn’t by its nature a danger. The problem is anytime something is popular it becomes a  target for the bad guys.  Malware authors and privacy thieves have found fertile ground on Facebook for new tricks and methods to infect computers. It’s not uncommon for friends to have their password compromised and suddenly they become an unwitting accomplice in spreading malware. It can happen to very computer savvy users like Helen who quickly had to let her 2,866 friends know someone had her password.


The most important lesson here is even if one of your friends sends you a link to something “cool” you should always be skeptical.

Keep Personal Info to a Minimum
If you think only your friends will have access to your profile information think again. This week it was revealed in a simple video how easy it is to steal personal info.


Bottom Line
Be smart with your password and don’t click on links that appear suspicious.  I will continue to use Facebook.  For me it’s too late anyway. I’ve been online for over 25 years and folks online know more about me than my family. “If you’re someone who worries about things like tracking cookies you probably don’t want to use Facebook.“

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Blogger RamblingRoland said...

Excellent article Bill, my sentiments exactly. After I realized the scope of third party applications, I quickly removed them, and no longer accept invitations to third party providers.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm sending your comments to my granddaughter. She's using too man of the apps and I don't think she is aware of the dangers. Thanks Bill.

Longtime user - Jim

12:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Bill, I'm sharing this information with my granddaughter and some friends who use way too many apps. I don't think they understand the dangers.

Longtime user - Jim

12:54 PM  
Blogger Netster23 said...

I have never like facebook but i got suck into it!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill, I've checked my privacy settings and passed your link on to friends as well - hope that's OK.

Keep up the good work!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Thanks for the post. I love FB but try to avoid all the hugs, kisses, pillows, etc. too. Thanks

5:17 PM  
Blogger Uncle F Hoppy said...

Excellent, same as usual from you!!!

Keep it up.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Mr E. said...

I stopped posting stuff when Facebook wanted to own all your info and pics past present and future. They did stop it. Now they use the e-mail addresses you upload to see if your friends are on or to alert when they sign up to targed suggested friends. It is a free Classmates, but part of me wants to close it. I do need to have a page for my busienss I am working on so I guess I need to keep it open. I do not respond to messages on facebook and write back via email.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill, nice article and great information.


10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill, nice article and great information. Even though I have retired I am still to busy to be involved with Facebook. I deactivated my account today. And now I feel safer too!

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bill, when might WinPatrol gain back Firefox 3.x cookie support ;) ?

I noticed its still blanked out... Keep up the good work!!

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Facebook Advertising said...

Facebook Advertising not only gives you and your business wonderful results, but with it, you can only advertise to people who are interested and willing to buy your products. Additionally, you can also target the gender, age, and location of your clients or customers.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, and thanks for the article. Some people don't realize that "deactivating" and "closing" their Facebook accounts are two entirely different things. Would you be able to write an article about this so people understand the difference? For the longest time I never knew you could close your account and this is very important for folks to know.

12:34 AM  

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