OK – once again a friendly reminder to all to be careful about your Facebook posts! You might think only your friends can see what you post, but others can and do see – unless you are careful and diligent about your privacy (as you know, Facebook can and does keep changing their policies and settings!). Not only can some of these things you post be embarrassing, but they could get you fired, or not get you that next job or college acceptance, etc., etc.
This safety reminder is not only for Facebook, but be careful before you use GeoLocation in Twitter and Instagram and all other social media!
Bottom-line, be careful! And take a look at what is public – from WeKnowWhatYou’reDoing:
About the Public Facebook statuses tool
How does it work?
It simply queries Facebook’s Graph API and outputs the results. There is nothing on this website that cannot be accessed by anyone else. Try it out, GET https://graph.facebook.com/search?q=hate%20my%20boss&type=post&locale=en_GB and you’ll see the raw JSON output. This site does some filtering to make the output more useful, for example omitting all posts except status updates, and only showing posts in the last column that contain a phone number. Finally this site caches data for the last hour, so updates may not be realtime, but should not be longer than an hour out of date.
These people probably wouldn’t want this info publishing, would they?
Probably not to be fair, but it was their choice, or lack of, with regards to their account privacy settings. People have lost their jobs in the past due to some of the posts they put on Facebook, so maybe this demonstrates why. Efforts have been made to remove any personal data from the results, such as the actual phone numbers, surnames, etc. The data is still easily accessible from the API, the filters have been put in place to protect the site from legal issues.
What is the lesson to be learned?
Just make sure your Facebook privacy settings are sufficient, for example don’t publish status updates containing potentially risky material as ‘Public’ because then they have a good chance of showing up in the public Graph API. You don’t even need an access token to get this info, but the problem is not with Facebook themselves, when used correctly, their privacy controls are very good. The problem is how people simply don’t understand the risks of sharing everything.
How do I make sure that I don’t end up on here?
Just go to https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy and make sure Control Your Default Privacy is not set to “Public”. You can set it to “Friends” but for the best privacy it is recommended you choose “Custom” and go through each option to choose who can see what.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from Tom Scott’s I Know What You Did Five Minutes Ago video. It demonstrates some very important points that consider the future of social networking and it’s impacts on a connected society. As Tom stated in the video, Twitter’s privacy control is binary however with Facebook it is a different story, their privacy controls are very effective when used correctly.