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What Not to Tell Your Facebook Friends

Many consumer and privacy rights organizations are warning people to be careful about what they post on Facebook or other online social networking sites. Information...
October 13, 2010

Many consumer and privacy rights organizations are warning people to be careful about what they post on Facebook or other online social networking sites. Information that could be useful to burglars and identity thieves include a child's date of birth, a home address and a mother's maiden name, which is often used as a security question. Lists of other things not to put on Facebook include place of birth, favorite song and the name of a pet.

Experts say employers commonly peruse social networking sites to determine who to hire - and, sometimes, who to fire. In just the past few weeks, an emergency dispatcher was fired in Wisconsin for revealing drug use; a waitress got canned for complaining about customers and the Pittsburgh Pirates' mascot was dumped for bashing the team on Facebook. One study done last year estimated that eight percent of companies fired someone for "misuse" of social media.

Bottom line: many people view the use of social networking platforms only as a means of communicating with their friends. In reality, a lot more is involved. Depending in part on the privacy settings you choose, you can be sharing information not just with your friends but with a lot of people you don't know. What you enter is something you publish, to the public as well as to your friends. This blog item in the New York Times contains links to other helpful articles.

Click here to read the blog post about Facebook. (New York Times 10/12/10)