If you pay attention to the news from time to time, you might have come across a news story about a teacher who was fired over content discovered on her Facebook page. Some stories have involved the leaking of a photo posted by an official that resulted in scandal.
One would think these embarrassments could have been avoided. They could have, but in most cases, the person who committed the breach of privacy simply didn’t realize his or her profile was so open to public view.
What most people think
A common misconception about Facebook security it that website security protocols will always be placed at the last-known settings. This is absolutely false. The reality is that the Facebook default leaves you wide open.
So every time the system updates, or you completely log off the system by signing out and clearing your cookies, the profile defaults to the minimum settings. This can catch some users off guard when they realize that the tagged picture of an embarrassing moment can be seen by everyone.
It can also be a shock when a person loses a job over a post that he or she didn’t know was public.
Why does Facebook do this?
Social media sites such as Facebook gain traffic by the amount of exposure from their users. This explains why certain details such as number of “likes” are relevant to the profile. When a user posts a picture, Facebook wants the world to see it. The platform encourages people to comment and engage in activity over any content posted on the site. That’s what drives Facebook’s numbers (and advertising revenue!).
The go-to site
Let’s say that you meet someone new at a social function. The first thing you want to do is get to know the person better. Generally speaking, most people are honest in their dealings on social media. It’s a doorway to the daily life of a person.
This caters to both voyeurs and exhibitionists alike. It also appeals to the curious, which is why security settings are set wide open as a default.
When to check
Facebook does major updates roughly every few months. These are the noticeable changes that typically include a layout change or additional feature. When one of these changes occurs, the whole coding of the system has to be revamped. So checking your settings is definitely a good idea at this point.
What isn’t so well known is that other changes occur frequently on Facebook. It’s not uncommon to have the site change its protocols on aspects like tagged photos, for example. These unseen changes are usually on the back end of the system. Because of this, it’s a smart idea to check your security settings once every couple of weeks.
Internet security is a big deal, but many people post freely to their social websites without regard to security. Some companies regularly scan their employees’ profiles. Private investigators searching for a person to slip up and release sensitive information will go directly to that person’s social media profiles.
The only sure to keep your information secure is to be proactive about watching what you post yourself.