Facebook is a large network with a small town community feel, despite its more than 1 billion members. Due to this, sometimes it is easy to forget much of what is posted in the various areas of Facebook is broadcast widely. Even if privacy settings are used, a lot of personal information is still streamed through the network, and this can spell trouble if you aren’t careful with the information you share.
There are several personal details you should never broadcast on Facebook because they could lead to work conflicts, family troubles, theft or other problematic issues.
Sharing personal information online is increasingly leading to identity and financial theft. Social media websites, especially large ones such as Facebook, is a gold mine of information for scammers and thieves. Sensitive personal information such as a home address, social security number, mother’s maiden name and exact place and date of birth should not be shared. Other information such as phone numbers and email addresses should be shared with caution; scammers often seek out email addresses and make phone calls in order to conduct phishing expeditions.
Many of the connections people tend to make on Facebook are hypothetically strangers and some are truly strangers. In the theoretical sense, even if you once ‘knew’ a Facebook friend as a child, in high school or were college chums, the person you recall may not be the same person now. While you’d like to think that everyone on Facebook you’re connected with is a trusted friend, the reality is, for many connections, you do not know where their life’s journey has taken them.
When it comes to sharing personal information online, there is no such thing as being too cautious.
For safety and security purposes it is not a wise idea to post your location, especially if you are away for an extended period of time. For instance, broadcasting across Facebook you’re on vacation is just the type of information thieves seek out. Another reason is that thieves could begin to pick up patterns in your routine and know when you’re less apt to be at home.
After all, due to the other streams of information shared, many thieves are patient and savvy enough to scope out where you live even if you haven’t shared your exact address. You figure they already have your last name, chances are you’re linked to other people in your neighborhood, businesses in your hometown and a plethora of other morsels that could help figure out an exact address; especially when listed in the phone book or in online listings. Plus there are a lot of lookup sites out there that broadcast your personal information anyway.
Facebook is not the place to vent marital problems out. Many conflicts that arise between spouses that are publicly aired out in cyberspace can lead to deeper relationship problems. Those couples already in escalated situations can damage their situations; it has become a well-known fact that attorneys routinely scope out Facebook in order to dig up dirt on estranged spouses.
Familial conflicts can become quickly heated when broadcast on Facebook. Off-the-cuff comments or careless posting can lead to hurt feelings, or full-blown arguments which could lead to serious divide in a family. It is a good idea to be mindful of comments or sharing of details that might lead to embarrassment for those you care about. Some anecdotes or memories are funny when shared privately, but may not bring about the same sentiments when streamed across Facebook.
Vents about work
Facebook is increasingly being tied to work problems. People get frustrated and complain about their bosses, colleagues or even customers and, as a result, end up losing their job. Even if work vents do not lead to an immediate firing, they can lead to some sticky situations in the workplace.
Facebook (and other social media networks) offers many benefits, however it is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls when socializing on this network or any other. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is to develop a global sense of sharing, however while this philosophy works great for Facebook, for the rest of the society, too much sharing can be detrimental in a variety of ways.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.