Whilst playing around on my Iphone the other day I thought I’d take the time to find out how Facebook ‘Places’ actually works.
After realising that my exact location was going to be broadcast to everyone in my network, it suddenly got me thinking about the repercussions of doing so and how this affects my privacy.
This spurred me on to re-visit my privacy settings, only to find that Facebook had changed the way their privacy settings work, and that I was in fact broadcasting to a much wider audience than I first thought.
In theory I was telling everyone that I was effectively out of my house for the weekend in Norfolk….hmmm, if I was a burglar that would be a pretty handy lead on where to hit next!
If I am telling everyone that I have just checked in to a pub – does that make a stalker think about following me home or watching me in the pub?
I understand that there are advantages to this too. For example if you check in to Starbucks for a coffee and a friend who is only around the corner sees that you’re so close, they could come and see you. Also, some companies like Starbucks offer incentives if you check in regularly, but remember you are also inviting people to join you….sometimes I want me time, to enjoy a coffee and read my book.
You need to ask the question whether your children should be using this part of Facebook’s functionality; I know I wouldn’t want my children (if I had any) broadcasting their location to all and sundry. If they are using it, do you know who your child is sharing this information with? Are they advertising your house to thieves? What networks are they in? How are their privacy settings set up, and how regularly should you check them?
With over 500 million facebook users worldwide, these issues are worthy of greater personal consideration.