Final week my spouse, Patti, obtained a number of emails and Fb messages from pals who mentioned that they’d obtained Fb buddy requests from her. The explanation they had been involved is as a result of they had been already her Fb buddy so there was no motive for a brand new
request. Others merely accepted that buddy request, maybe pondering they’d by chance been unfriended or possibly not even being conscious that they had been already Fb pals.
Considered one of her pals despatched her a screenshot of the profile from the particular person pretending to be her and, certainly, it appeared so much like Patti’s actual profile, full along with her image and different seemingly real content material. Others despatched personal messages that they’d obtained from the pretend Patti, together with some claiming that she had received $60,000 from Writer’s Clearinghouse and that she noticed her buddy’s identify on an inventory of individuals to additionally get a “money bonus” in the event that they “contact the agent for extra inquiry.” We don’t know if any of the actual Patti’s pals contacts that “agent,” however I’ve little question they might have been requested to supply private info or cash in trade for a promise of that “money bonus.”
Patti, just a few of her pals and I reported the pretend profile to Fb which, to its credit score, rapidly took it down inside minutes. You are able to do that by clicking on the three dots to the proper of the profile and deciding on “Discover assist or report profile.” That very same menu additionally permits you to block a consumer.
The explanation this imposter was in a position to contact Patti’s pals was as a result of, on the time, her pals record was public. As Facebook says on a assist web page, “By default, the Pals part of your profile is public, that means everybody can see it.” So, to forestall this from occurring once more, Patti clicked on settings after which Privateness to vary the setting to “Pals.” Those that need much more privateness can choose a extra restricted viewers, together with “solely me.” The explanation she was comfy deciding on pals is that she’s cautious to solely buddy individuals she is aware of or has a superb motive to belief.
Different privateness settings
Controlling who can see your folks record is just one of many non-obligatory privateness settings. Others embody who can see your future posts, the power to restrict the viewers for previous posts, who can ship you buddy requests (everybody, pals of pals or nobody), who can look you up by e-mail handle or telephone quantity, and whether or not exterior search engines like google hyperlink to your profile. You can too management who can observe or remark in your public posts.
The “who can see your public posts” setting will be modified on a post-by-post foundation by deciding on the viewers choice as you’re about to put up. As a result of I exploit Fb to advertise my work, I usually put up publicly. However I do restrict some posts to solely pals or, in some circumstances, an excellent smaller viewers.
Fb lets you choose the viewers for every put up both as you put up or later in the event you change your thoughts. One phrase of warning, although. In the event you change your viewers choice as you put up, that choice will stay in impact till you modify it once more. So, in the event you usually put up to solely pals after which change to public for a put up you need to share with the world, your subsequent posts might be public till you modify it again once more.
Additionally take note of the Account Security tab which covers how one can change your password, get alerts about unrecognized logins and use two-factor authentication. Organising two-factor authentication is particularly essential as a result of it makes it far more troublesome for hackers to interrupt into your account. The most typical approach to do that is to be despatched a textual content message with a one-time log-in code. It received’t hassle you every time you go online, simply if it’s a brand new machine or browser. You can too obtain a free authentication app like Authy or Google Authenticator, which provides an additional layer of safety by permitting you to make use of your smartphone or, in some circumstances, pc, to validate a log-in. Though no safety instruments are 100% hacker-proof, these strategies vastly cut back the probabilities of somebody breaking into your account. And don’t simply do that for Fb. Many providers and websites, together with Gmail and Twitter, assist two-factor authentication.
It’s price exploring Fb’s Privateness and Security parts of Fb’s Assist Heart (facebook.com/help) for added recommendation together with how one can unfriend or block somebody. There’s additionally recommendation on how one can “take a break from somebody” who won’t be abusive however is nonetheless annoying. You can too quickly cease seeing somebody’s posts for 30 days by clicking the three dot menu to the proper of any of their posts and deciding on “Snooze.” A buddy of mine did this to one among her pals throughout the election marketing campaign as a result of she needed a break from his frequent political posts, regardless that she valued their friendship.
And, in the event you assume an individual has violated Facebook’s community standards, you’ll be able to report any of their posts from that very same menu. In the event you block, unfriend or snooze somebody, they received’t be notified, and in the event you report them, they received’t be instructed who submitted the report. Nevertheless, in some circumstances, the particular person would possibly have the ability to determine it out.
Lots of Fb’s security and privateness options can be found in maybe a unique type on different social networks, so it’s a good suggestion to test the assistance sections of any service you employ. ConnectSafely.org has Guides and Fast-Guides (connectsafely.org/allguides) to a number of providers, particularly these which might be standard with youth.
Disclosure: Larry Magid is CEO of ConnectSafely.org, which receives monetary assist from Fb and different know-how firms. He’s additionally a member of Fb’s Security Advisory Board.