Are you aware of the privacy and security you give up by simply using Facebook?

By Ben Alonzo
facebook-privacy

Many Facebook frequenters don’t fully understand the extent of the invasion of privacy and security vulnerability they face. Facebook’s vision for the future is even scarier. Are you giving more than Facebook is giving you? You’re providing them with an astonishing amount of very detailed and personal information, but for what? Experts say Facebook is collecting much more data than their users realize. If you’re a heavy user of Facebook, you might want to reconsider what you like, post, or share.

Think Twice

Relatively few people actually understand what information they give up by using Facebook. Similarly, not very many people are aware of the personal safety compromise that comes with giving up so much information to unknown parties. The addition of smartphone apps have also meant that the social media giant now can tap just about anything you’ve got on your phone. Where are you? Where did you go? Who are you talking to? What have you bought? When do you sleep? Where did you eat last night? You might not have posted this, but Facebook already knows.

It’s critical for internet users of all ages to understand the risks and how they can try to avoid some of these major privacy and security issues.

By using Facebook you’re giving up the following personal information:

  • The entire conversation between anyone you message or text through Facebook
  • Everything you post to your own or another Facebook Wall
  • All of the pages or posts that you liked
  • Any purchases you make on Facebook
  • Any games you play on Facebook
  • Any associated credit, debit, or banking information you use to make a purchase through Facebook
  • The list of your friends
  • Your sexual identity
  • The location of where you shop and what you shop for
  • The location of where you eat and how often you eat there
  • The location of your home (address)
  • Your birth date
  • Your mood
  • Your political ideologies
  • Your religious views
  • Groups that you’re a member of
  • What articles you read within the Facebook site
  • Facebook can somewhat identify other people in your pictures. Basically, whoever is in your picture can become a victim of invasion of privacy without even knowing an automated recognition system tags them.
  • Your travel habits and vacation habits
  • Potentially reading and storing pictures without your expressed ongoing informed consent (from your smartphone)
  • Your physical fitness
  • Your life moments, such as a birth, relationship, etc.
  • Inventory of items you have in your house based on pictures you post
  • Food and drinks you like
  • An algorithm to automatically suggest your income based on the things you post, cookies, and likes.
  • The ability to determine your sleeping habits (when you are awake vs. sleeping)
  • Any account that you link to Facebook
  • Who you’re dating, have married, got divorced from, etc.

It’s very difficult to understand just how much information you’re giving up without having a computer, network, and internet security education. It’s bad now, but the invasion of privacy is about to get much worse. Facebook has recently announced that it wants to feed you when you’re hungry. It seems Facebook wants to know everything you think and do, but why? For the government? To sell that info to unknown people? Why?

Facebook’s vision for the future is also very disturbing, filled with automatic tagging, data mining, and selling your information to who knows. Already, users report their pictures are already being subjected to recognition software, suggesting names, places, and even a description of what’s in the picture before you type anything. This might seem cool on the surface, but this is just more of an invasion of privacy. It’s not just the data that’s being collected, it’s even more risky when this is all linked to your real name and address.

Real Names

Using a real name is one of the biggest threats to your privacy and safety. In an age of digital stalking, lynch mobs, hackers, scammers, ransoms, and revenge posts, real names make it very easy for bad people to find you. You’re also linked to anything else you’ve done online, if you’re real name is used for those accounts as well. People that have been stalked before can appreciate the importance of using a pseudonym online. In fact, every sane, informed, smart person should be using a nickname or pseudonym while doing anything publicly online. Facebook, even if you’re set to friends only, is still basically a public social media system.

Facebook often unethically and ridiculously makes people submit driver’s license, social security cards, and other extremely personal identification cards. It says they do this to confirm identity, but it’s nothing more than an invasion of privacy, unethical, potentially dangerous, and severely compromises the security of any individual participating. Unfortunately, Facebook often forces people to do this to avoid having their account disabled for not being “fully” verified.

Several IT security experts have confirmed to ULTRA TechLife that Facebook often forces people to scan and upload extremely personal, sensitive identity information to maintain an account. Examples of such information included birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and school ID cards. There are plenty of other ways to verify a legitimate account. Think of all of the accounts you have where you didn’t have to upload your social security card or driver’s license card picture before opening a social media account. Why should Facebook be any different? What Facebook is doing to such a large amount of people should be a crime against humanity.

As you can see, the above personal information, combined with your real first and last name, will significantly threaten your identity, privacy, and personal safety.

But Facebook knows that people like to communicate. Facebook, admittedly, is a convenient platform to friend people, share pictures, like, and comment on whatever is of interest to you. This is all great, but it shouldn’t require you to give up such personal information and threaten your personal safety. What legitimate internet security expert would ever tell you that Facebook is great for your privacy and personal safety – as it stands now?

Despite being called social media, sites like Facebook operate more like a data mining business that dives deeper into a level of such disrespect of privacy and safety that they must constantly justify it by suggesting it’s all for your safety, to tailor content for you, suggest friends, or serve better advertisements. Anyone with common sense can see right through this.

Some day we hope for an alternative to Facebook that respects privacy and user security.

Suggestions

What is your privacy and safety worth? Do you believe you’re getting just as much back as you’re giving to Facebook? Remember, privacy and safety go together. Here are some things you can consider to ensure you have some kind of privacy left:

  • Turn off location settings in your pictures and app whenever using Facebook.
  • Do not list your exact home, city, or address information anywhere on your profile.
  • Do not check in to every place you visit.
  • Review your privacy options in the “Settings” area of your profile to see what you can disable
  • Seriously consider never linking Facebook to any other type of social media account, log into them separately.
  • Do not post pictures where your address, apartment number, or street name are visible.
  • Avoid extremely close up or high resolution shots of your face. The reason for this is higher resolution photos make it easy for facial recognition software to put you into a database to be given to government and third-party business organizations.
  • Never post pictures of your ID cards anywhere on Facebook.
  • Do not click on the news links on the right side of the Facebook feed (clickbait).
  • Write to your representatives to demand they hold Facebook accountable. Sometimes it takes legislation to force a huge company into respecting the privacy of their customers.


  • Consider permanently deleting your Facebook account and using a less invasive alternative. It takes about 14 days for Facebook to permanently delete an account. You can request that they permanently delete your account by visiting this Facebook link. Remember, you can always email or text someone. There are lots of sharing websites and social media platforms out there. Walking away from Facebook isn’t the end of the world. If enough people did this, Facebook might get the message.

If you’re worried about being antisocial, just consider what experts say about social media. There is evidence that suggests social media causes antisocial behavior, depression, unhappiness, relationship problems, and even violence. Just think of the armchair court of public opinion that spends day and night arguing over the latest clickbait news story or political problems. How much time is wasted making negative comments on Facebook?

Forbes has also described Facebook as “playing games” with the privacy of their users. Consumer Reports also says Facebook is a huge privacy risk. Privacy issues are such a major problem that some have even decided to sue Facebook.

Internet security experts are warning all users of social media sites like Facebook that the invasion of privacy may be far worse than we currently know.

bio
About Author: Ben Alonzo is a scientist, tech expert, professor, and director of ULTRATechLife.com. He’s CEO of the media-tech firm Storm Sector, LLC. Ben holds an M.S. in Geoscience, M.S. in Nutrition and Health, and a B.S. in Geoscience. He’s a highly-rated professor that teaches several courses, including earth science, environmental science, oceanography, meteorology, and public health. His diverse background spans numerous fields, network and computer systems, healthcare, weather forecasting, consumer electronics, computer programming, and web development. Ben holds numerous professional licenses and certifications, ranging from information technology to healthcare and emergency medical technician. He’s also a pilot that loves flying. He’s been writing about science and tech for over 10 years. You can see some of his past articles on the Houston Chronicle, eHow, Hearst, and other networks. In his free time, he loves scuba diving, traveling, storm chasing, producing videos and writing guitar music. More about author.

Coming soon: Follow Ben on his new social media: Instagram @benpro98 | Twitter @benpro98 

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