Divulging too much info on Facebook?

August 15, 2007

I blogged previously about the issue of social networks being used to gather info about people by recruiters and employers and now Sophos, the anti-virus people, have published a report on the dangers of divulging too much info on Facebook.

Sophos’ “Facebook ID Probe” involved creating a made up Facebook profile, then sending requests to 200 randomly-selected profiles to be friends with them.

The profile was for one ‘Freddi Staur’ (itself an anagram of “ID Fraudster”), a green frog who gave away very little info about himself.

In most cases, Freddi gained access to photos, info about likes/dislikes, hobbies, employment details and other personal facts, such as date of birth. Many users also disclosed the names of spouses or partners. Some even divulged contact details!

Sophos’s research shows that 41% of users, more than two in five, will divulge personal information – such as email address, date of birth and phone number – to a complete stranger, greatly increasing their susceptibility to ID theft.

So, take care out there! Be sensible with what you post, don’t post anything that can identify you and don’t say yes to random friend requests.

I’m waiting for the first ad serving company to work out how to extract profile information and then create a dodgy Facebook app to cookie those users, enabling them to serve up highly targetted ads to them. Won’t be long I suspect!


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