In another swipe at Twitter, Facebook is making another serious step into the world of microblogging. Now, when a Facebooker goes to update a status, a small drop down menu appears, giving users the option of making the status universally available (to anyone, not just Facebookers). That option is accompanied by the other typical Facebook privacy settings, allowing updates to be visible to: 'Friends of Friends,' 'Friends and Networks,' 'Friends Only,' and, our favorite, 'Custom.' As usual, this update will be rolled out in waves to different users, so you may not see it yet.
From its inception, Facebook has respected the privacy of its users, making it a more attractive option to those who were turned off by MySpace's garish free-for-all. Obviously, privacy advocates are going to mount a protest against this change, but, according to ReadWriteWeb, Facebook is making a concerted effort to let users know that the settings have changed. The 'Book contests that the new status function's privacy settings will mirror the individual's default settings (Those on private will remain private, and those who choose public can be seen via search engines.). But, allegedly, those kinks are still being worked out.
Simply put, it appears that Facebook is taking Twitter to task, capitalizing on the best that tweeting has to offer (accessible messages) while sticking to its original credo (privacy for those who want it). Privacy for those who want it, that is, as long as those who want it notice that precious drop-down menu -- reminding them to keep their digital blinds closed. [From: InsideFacebook and ReadWriteWeb]
Blackmail Sending any personal info or incriminating pictures to someone on Facebook is a huge mistake for many reasons. One of the worst possible outcomes is getting blackmailed for money, sex, or, well, anything these sickos dream up. Really, whether they're using a fake profile or not, it's a horrible idea. Read up on the story of an 18-year-old who blackmailed 31 male classmates after he posed as a girl and asked for nude pictures. That's lesson enough.
Impostors Sure, it can be harmless to impersonate a celeb online or create a fake profile for a movie character. But seriously, there's a definite line you shouldn't cross when pretending to be someone else and it can lead to dire consequences for you. Maybe it's not as extreme as the Moroccan man who was jailed for 43 days after creating a fake Facebook profile of a prince, but you never know. Just steer clear of it.
Suicide Social networking sites has been blamed for a lot of things, fairly and unfairly, but in our opinion, the worst offense has been their indirect involvement in suicides. Obviously, there are a lot of factors responsible in each case, but there does seem to be links between social networking and a rash of suicides, and obviously tehre's the case tragic of Megan Meier, who killed herself after a classmate's mom impersonated a teen boy and harassed her over Myspace.
Murder We've reported on numerous incidents of people getting in trouble because of their online behavior. Now, people are becoming victims because of what they're doing on the Web too. In England, a man was convicted of murdering his estranged wife after she changed her relationship status to "single." So, be careful of who can see your profile and what you're doing, no matter how harmless it seems.
Nigerian Scammers Oh, you thought this only happened via poorly worded emails, right? WRONG. Once people got wise to their old ways, these con men are turning to social networking sites for new targets. This time, they're hacking into people's accounts and impersonating them to ask for money, usually with some weird sob story. You can check out a transcript of one of these conversations here.
Cooperation Even if the law isn't on a case, a victim, his friends, or empathetic strangers might be. Since it's easy to get word out for anything online, people are using blogs, forums, and social networking sites to help track down criminals. In one such case, a vehicle thief was tracked down by a bunch of anonymous car enthusiasts after the victim posted his story on a forum. In the end, they identified the guy through his Facebook profile.