Facebook security alert: what you need to do now
Users of the social networking site Facebook have been complaining this week that private messages are now being made public.
Rumours of private messages on Facebook being made public have been circulating across the internet this week.
Supposedly private messages sent between 2007 and 2009 have now appeared on users' timelines as public wall posts for everyone to see.
But Facebook has denied these rumours as just that, and said the so-called private messages were actually older wall posts.
Users of the social network, who mainly seem to live in France, have posted comments across the internet suggesting past private material has now been made public in potential breach of privacy.
Are social networks safe?
This recent Facebook issue, which comes after it rolled out its ‘Timeline’ feature to users across the globe - which you can read about in Facebook Timeline poses new dangers - should act as a warning to all users to monitor what they post on their walls.
What seems to have happened is that users were a lot less careful when using social networks five years ago. The site also worked very differently and therefore a comment left on a friend’s wall could easily include the kind of content we would today only use in a private message.
Is my information private?
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter routinely change their privacy settings so it’s vital you keep an eye on these to make sure your information is kept private. When something changes you should be alerted to this, either through an email or a message on the website.
As social networks become more popular, the risk of someone accessing private information also increases and as employers now regularly check these feeds you need to make sure you remain vigilant. Read Facebook could cost you your job!
What can I do now to protect myself?
If you’re worried about the potential dangers from fraudsters online, our twelve tips for avoiding the online conmen is a good place to start.
When it comes to social media, it’s a mix of common sense and checking you have the right privacy settings. Many people arrange events, give away bank details and holiday plans through Facebook so any of these details leaked into the public sphere could be potentially harmful.
Keeping your privacy settings on the highest level is a start, but making sure you don’t post anything you wouldn’t want an employee to see is also a good practice to follow.
There have been several cases of employees sacked for slating their employers on these kinds of sites, and even if your privacy settings are protected, it’s always possible for someone to take a screenshot of your profile or wall.
Checking your profile regularly, and looking back to past years' posts, is recommended. And deleting anything which could possibly lead to private information being leaked onto the internet and into a fraudster's hands is vital.
Do you think your Facebook profile has been compromised? Have past messages appeared on your wall? Let me know in the comment box below.