Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Perils of facebook

By now, I am sure many of us have received the forwarded mail regarding an employee who lost her job because she complained about her boss in facebook (“FB”), not knowing her boss is in her friends list. Of course, there is the more erotic one where a woman proclaimed that a particular guy’s d*ck is forever welcomed in her love canal after a sexciting night together.

While we may all laugh at these victims, we should not discount the fact that FB is getting increasingly dangerous. To-date, I have heard of 2 real-life situations where people have been dismissed due to FB.

The first is very much similar to the forwarded mail. The victim explicitly expressed her fury in her status update. Though her boss is not in her friends list, someone captured the screen of FB status and sent it to HR. Though the logical speculation is that a fellow colleague (now ex-colleague) did it, the culprit remains unknown to-date.

The second story is pretty much due to the stupidity lack of reasonable care on the victim herself. She told her office that she was not well and will be on medical leave, which is of course, not true. She attended a party during the day and took lots of photos and happily posted those photos in FB. Someone in her office saw the photos; I don’t need to elaborate further.

Notwithstanding such mishaps, I think FB can be quite an intrusion to one’s privacy. Do you know that a google image search of your name will most probably reveal your FB profile photo?
Of course, there are people who find it glamorous to have their faces plastered all over the web and have people recognising you everywhere you go. The web has indeed given a great sense of celebritism to these people. What used to be only achievable via excellence in acting, singing, sports or other artistic/specialised skills can now be achieved with just a click of a button.

And this sense of celebritism is exactly what online advertisement companies are thriving on. By creating this feel, they can harvest a large number of cheap online advertisement platform for their business expansion. Anyway, I have digressed… let’s come back to FB…

And so, if you are someone who wants to have your face plastered all over the web and have a sense of internet stardom, then FB is a fantastic platform (besides blog). But if you are not, then I think it’s an intrusion of privacy. I am referring specifically to the “photo tagging” function.

Worse, FB even allows tagging of photos for non-FB user. So your face could have been tagged somewhere in someone’s photo. If you are a private person who wants to remain anonymity, FB will screw that all up.

And of course, it also exposes you to a certain degree of risk. Just like the second situation I mentioned above. If you fake a medical leave and got your photos taken somewhere, someone else might post your photo up and tag you as a non-FB user. So even if you are smart enough not to post any picture of yourself, you may still be at risk.

And referring to the first story I mentioned above, you just do not know who are your enemies within your FB list. I know some people will happily add anyone who makes a FB request. Perhaps one should think twice before randomly adding people.

Certainly, those are very specific and perhaps isolated situation. But no matter what, the fact that FB allows visual identification without one’s knowledge and the proven vulnerability of one’s exposure to public is something we should all think about.


1 year ago…
From far and near, they all flock hereAnd you think the big pays big

27 comments:

day-dreamer said...

The internet is scary...

Stormsea7 said...

"...google image search of your name will most probably reveal your FB profile photo"

does this mean I can find your (zewt) pic with google? *grins*

Another reason why I don't have FaceBook/frienster/social-network-crap account

the so-called free world of internet is much more dangerous then most people think...

Swee Ping said...

sometimes i think twice when i want to post in FB/Twitter/plurk/blog about work because you never know whose reading it. especially when have boss and some colleagues in our list (FB). but still i have colleagues who update their status in FB bout their frustrations etc when boss/bosses are in their FB list. They think boss won't have time to notice it? :-\ even if limited profile thing don't help tht much if other can view it and do a print screen of it.......

MKL said...

I never blog or tweet about work, my blog has no photo of me or people I know. My FB account is very private and I only add people who I think are trustworthy. I even have 2 accounts, 1 for my Slovenian friends, one for international. I mostly 'hang out' on the second one, cuz what's the point of writing messages with the people I meet in my hometown? So these things are good for me to connect with foreign people, exchange ideas. But I always keep a lot of things private. That's for me a 'healthy' approach.

How do you do it, Zewt?

tomatoinc said...

zewt, the second scenario is fake. the account was hacked, and the hackers posted all the stuff.

http://thecoffeedesk.com/news/index.php/2009/08/22/4chan-hacked-facebook-pictures/

Amanda Christine Wong said...

i think we just need to be more subtle when ranting :D

sabrina said...

And that is why i'm no longer on FB....not only is there a serious invasion of one's privacy, but you also tend to get hit on and stalked by strangers (read : desperate people) all the time

I am a happy Twitter convert now :p

~aSstHa~ said...

hey!!! ... how come my pic is d 1st one... omg... hahaha budden... yea shud know better... d minute u put anything up online there goes ur privacy... ;)

littlepolaris said...

ah dat's why i have so many ppl on pending list.... n i'm gonna delete ppl from my uni as well lol.

j_yenn said...

Facebook may look fun. But it can also be one heck of a landmine.

economist said...

just use FB to play games...thats all!

foongpc said...

I agree with everything you said. I don't do Facebook. I only blog without my pictures on it.

Facebook is good for people who want to be popular or famous. There's nothing wrong with that, so I am not against people using Facebook.

Only thing is, for people who value their privacy like me, my advice is don't sign up for Facebook or if you do, use it with much caution.

Pauline Yap said...

with facebook, i met all my primary and secondary school friends. Yes, I agreed, we gotta use it wisely, to benefit us instead of to our disadvantages.

didn't know this, though:

"...google image search of your name will most probably reveal your FB profile photo"

interesting.

Lifong said...

I googled searched my name before, but nothing ak...But i do agree, Facebook is very '8'.

J u n e said...

Lolx i din know people actually got fired cause of FB.

but i heard from a friend that some interviewer uses FB to check on the interviewee..x_x

eiling lim said...

Yup through FB, my friend actually fired his subordinate whom is faking a MC and found to be out dining with the fiance! haha

neno said...

"google image search of your name will most probably reveal your FB profile photo" <--wah..i better check my pic first..n yeah..i din noe non-user can tag me as well..

Craig said...

Zewt, you should have known the above was not true. Her account was hacked.

missironic said...

Yeah.. I agree FB can be dangerous. So gotta beware of wat you are posting. Usually I'll screen the people I'm adding on my list. Can't just simply add any tom, dick and harry who randomly add you. You won't know who they really are! This is seriously not a contest of who has the most friends... hahahaa...

zewt said...

day-dreamer - very!

Stormsea7 - you'll never know :P ... yeah, it's very dangeorus, we just dont know it. there is a reason why ppl are willing to pay so much for data in FB

Swee Ping - i think your colleagues are treading on dangerous ground...

MKL - well, i think you just give me an idea... should start one for online friends and another for schoolmates... thanks for the idea...

tomatoinc - cool... but then again, goes to show that fb is damn dangerous right?

Amanda Christine Wong - hello there... nah, when your boss can read it, it's useless whether it's subtle or not.

zewt said...

sabrina - hahaha... you just get hit on everywhere you go :P

~aSstHa~ - like what MKL said... need a dual account...

littlepolaris - should i delete you then?

j_yenn - and some have stepped on it already.

economist - but i dont do that though haha

foongpc - ahh... you are a private man eh? hehe... might be difficult if your readership keeps growing.

zewt said...

Pauline Yap - yeah, particularly if your name is rather unique.

Lifong - good for you lor... you are protected hehe...

J u n e - i am not surprise... have to really keep the pictures clear.

eiling lim - hahahahaha... so this kinda stupidity was rather common...

neno - they can... and that i think is truly invasion of privacy.

Craig - just got to know. sorry for her. but all goes to show fb is very dangerous, isnt it?

missironic - hahaha... some take it that way though.

Anonymous said...

hey ! wat's face book or tweeter ???

zewt said...

anon @ 9/10 3.32pm - stay in the light then... :)

pinknpurplelizard said...

Another reason why I stay FB resistant... Stick to plain blogging, surfing, gaming, email and reading.

pinknpurplelizard said...

To further explain myself - Ppl do silly things without realising. Humans have this natural instinct to gloat, boast and announce things to get themselves noticed by others. Often, this is what gets them into trouble.

zewt said...

pinknpurplelizard - hey... that includes blogging too :P