Facebook knows a lot about you, most of which is shared with friends to help you all out. But it has a dark side.
Much of the information stored and shared on the site could be used maliciously, and so it is important to ensure that you’re careful about all of the data that’s on there.
As such, it’s worth at least being aware of all of the data that you have given over. You might not want to delete it all – but either way it’s good to know what you’re sharing.
This is perhaps the one most of use to Facebook – it collects everything that it thinks might be of interest to you and uses that to target ads at you. It does that through two main routes: encouraging you to like things so that they’re on your profile, and then guessing other things based on your likes and other activity.
But that information might be private, or you might not want people knowing what you’re into. So you can easily remove interests – or even give Facebook entirely different ones, if you wish.
Birthdays on Facebook are traditional: everyone posts on your wall, and soon after that you have to send out a message thanking them for their wishes.
But they’re also potentially damaging – your birthday is actually very sensitive information that can give people more easy access to your bank and other personal accounts. So it’s best to keep it quiet.
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
Around 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day, with the site estimating in September last year that users had so far put up more than 250 billion images. That’s 4,000 photos uploaded every second and around 4 per cent of all photos ever taken, according to a study by Nokia.
Facebook’s logo is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colour blind. “Blue is the richest color for me. I can see all of blue," said Zuckerberg in an interview with the New Yorker. The colour is so popular that Facebook’s campus store even sells nail polish in the exact shade named ‘social butterfly blue’.
Zuckerberg's famously low-key wardrobe (either a grey t-shirt or a hoodie) is so that the CEO saves time deciding what to wear each day. However, Zuckerberg is known to dress up when the occasion demands it. For a 2011 event with Barack Obama he showed up in a suit, with the president introducing himself by saying: “I’m Barack Obama and I’m the guy who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie.”
In July 2006 Zuckerberg turned down a $1 billion offer for the site from Yahoo. He was 22 years old at the time and owned 25 per cent of the company. Zuckerberg reportedly turned it down by saying “I don't know what I could do with the money. I'd just start another social networking site. I kind of like the one I already have.” He definitely made the right choice: Facebook is now valued at $135 billion.
A YouGov poll claimed that three-quarter of UK Facebook users' photos showed someone drinking or inebriated. However, the poll did ask users to estimate the number of boozy snaps themselves, and like all things on Facebook, there might have been an element of exaggeration involved.
Facebook operates a bounty hunter program – for bugs. Like many other big technology companies Facebook offers cash rewards to security researchers who point out flaws in the site’s code. The minimum payout is $500 and the largest prize to date has been $33,500.
More than a third of divorce filings in 2011 referenced Facebook, said a survey from UK-based legal firm Divorce Online. The exact figures may be an estimate, but with just under 8 trillion Facebook messages sent in 2013 it’s certain that a substantial body of evidence is to be found on the social network.
Zuckerberg isn’t much of a Twitter fan. Despite having nearly three hundred thousand followers on the service he’s only tweeted 19 times - once in 2012 and the rest in 2009. Although Facebook dwarfs twitter in terms of active users (1 billion compared with 200 million by some accounts) the micro-blogging site handles breaking news better. Facebook has introduced trending topics and hashtags to counter this.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 Iceland decided to rewrite their constitution using Facebook to solicit suggestions from citizens. Unfortunately, despite this forward thinking approach, the document was killed by politicians in mid-2013 for various (mostly technical) reasons.
You can browse Facebook upside down. Facebook currently supports more than 70 different languages – including English (Pirate) and English (Upside Down). Check the bottom of the column on the right of your newsfeed and click your current language to change!
The site forces you to hand this information over, so that it can make sure that you’re old enough to use it. And putting in the wrong date is possible but it will mean that people will wish you a happy birthday on whichever date you choose – after which you’ll be forced to explain.
Instead it’s best just to hide the information, making sure that nobody can see the information on your birthday or on your profile.
Your home address
You probably wouldn’t give out your home address to a stranger. But you might be doing that accidentally while you use the site.
People often list their address while planning events, or even on their own page. If you need to tell people where you are, it’s best to do it privately in a direct message – otherwise, it’s probably safest to be vague and list only the region or town you live.
Where you’ve worked or went to school
This can be a nice way of catching up with former colleagues or school friends, and even getting jobs. But it can also be a terrifying way of those people catching up with you.
Keeping full details of all of your employment on your profile makes it easier for people to find you since you’ll more easily show up in search results and in groups. If you want to keep the information on there but would rather not show up there, you could change the name slightly, so that it will be obvious to anyone who visits but people will less easily be able to find you.
Old, embarrassing information
This isn’t so much a security or privacy concern – though it might be – as it is about conserving your pride. Because Facebook is now so old, it has changed a lot – and, probably, so have you.
That could mean that there’s embarrassing information still hanging on in undiscovered and unwatched parts of the site. It’s worth checking through the whole thing and making sure that there’s no odd or shameful bits of information that you’d rather be rid of.
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