Loophole opens up Facebook friends list to anyone – even if it’s set to private

Digital Trends recently reported that there is a loophole in Facebook that opens up friends lists to anyone.

 If someone wants to see the friends of a Facebook user who hides their complete friend list from strangers, they can create a new dummy account and send a friend request to that Facebook user. Once the request is sent, even if it is rejected, Facebook will start sending friend suggestions to the dummy account — for users who are already Facebook friends or who have received a friend request from the person in question. In this way, even though there’s no complete friend list, someone looking for more information about a Facebook user will be able to compile at least a robust partial list of their Facebook friends. And while most people aren’t going to bother going out of their way to circumvent settings, the people who will  – malware peddlers, spammers, and stalkers — are exactly the kind of users that people want to avoid when they select tighter privacy settings.

Read the whole article here.

It’s complicated by danah boyd

iQ was fortunate enough to hear internationally recognised social media researcher danah boyd speak back in 2012 (click here to access all of iQ’s resources on danah boyd). Now boyd has a book coming out entitled It’s complicated. The blurb from the book (via Amazon) explains what it’s about:

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens’ use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

This is not an advertisement for the book, just a pointer to a resource that many people may find useful. Public libraries may stock this book.

Social media app winning over kids, but police warn of its nasty Kik

On Sunday, The Age published a report about the social media app Kik.

NSW Police have described it as ”the number one social media problem involving teenagers” – but most parents would barely have heard of messaging app Kik before this week.

Kik’s popularity among young people was highlighted by the disappearance of Sydney teenager Krystal Muhieddine, who left her house early on Tuesday morning in a car with a stranger before being found in country Victoria on Friday.

The app can be installed on iPod touch and iPad devices as well as smart phones. Instead of using phone numbers or real names to contact each other, each Kik member has a user name. Conversations and images can’t be viewed publicly, which makes it much harder for parents to monitor Kik than Facebook or Twitter.

Cyber safety expert Ross Bark said Kik and Instagram were a ”dangerous combination” for teenagers, who post photographs publicly on Instagram and then invite viewers to ”Kik me” privately to chat.

”They’re literally promoting themselves, saying ‘come and talk to me’,” Mr Bark said. ”They can randomly chat with somebody and send images, and they don’t understand the consequences of who is using that information.”

Read the whole story here.

Spying on shoppers?

Recently reported in the news is the UK supermarket Tesco and their plans to scan shoppers for advertising purposes. The Sydney Morning Herald explains:

British supermarket chain Tesco is installing hundreds of high-tech screens that scan the faces of shoppers as they queue at tills to detect their age and sex for advertisers.

The supermarket has signed a deal with Amscreen, a digital signage company owned by Lord Alan Sugar, in a move which drew concern from privacy campaigners about the growing use of ”invasive” technology in shops.

Cameras built into a digital advertising display above the tills identify whether a customer is male or female, estimate their age and judge how long they look at the advertisement displayed.

The ”real-time” data is fed through to advertisers to give them some idea of how effective their campaigns are and to enable them to tailor advertisements to certain times of the day

Not sure what this means for Australia and whether we can expect this soon. Read more here.

I need to know about social networking and online friends

Continuing on with the resources provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, the information social networking and online friends is very useful. It includes information on:

  • Are they my friends in real life too?
  • Know the basics of safe social networking
  • Meeting online friends in the real world – do you really know who you’re meeting?
Well worth checking out. Read the whole post here.

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Teens/I%20need%20to%20know%20about/Social%20networking%20and%20online%20friends.aspx

I need to know about online gaming

Another resource provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website is about online gaming. Covering both video games and gambling, this resource includes information on

  • knowing the basics and
  • protecting yourself

Read the whole post here.

Facebook hands teenagers a megaphone

Recently ReadWrite published a post explaining that Facebook now

…officially wants teens to overshare as well, in ways that might also make them better fodder for advertising.

Facebook announced today that teenage users can now make their posts public on Facebook. Previously, the social network limited users between the ages of 13 and 17 to distributing posts to their extended network—i.e. friends and friends of friends. Teenage users also now have the option to turn on the “follow” setting for their accounts, letting public updates appear in news feeds.

Read the whole post here.

A social profile is not a CV

Recently The Age published an article stating that a social media profile is not a CV. Year 11 student Olympia Nelson states:

Young people need to be protected from cyber-spying by prospective employers.

It’s creepy to think that you’re being stalked. But how much creepier is it that a group of people sit around a long table analysing information on your Facebook profile in order to decide whether you’re worthy of a job in their organisation?

The government is not going to protect you from people looking at what you publish. It’s up to you to portray yourself as you’d like to be seen. She continues:

When teachers say: ‘‘Do you know that employers will actually search you on Facebook’’, they are implicitly condoning, rather than condemning, this despicable and illogical intrusiveness. Why aren’t they devoting their energies to berating search companies for cyber-stalking?

Like it or not, what you put out to the public domain via social media is going to be viewed and used by others. Whether it’s a prospective employer or worse, what you publicly publish is open to all. We aren’t condoning it, we’re just telling it like it is. A reminder to think before you post.

Online privacy faces court challenge

An interesting article coming out of the United Kingdom that spy agency GSHQ has breached the privacy of tens of millions of Europeans.

“[there is a] lack of democratic accountability and judicial oversight. People living across the UK, Europe, the USA and beyond need the courts to protect their rights and start the process of re-establishing public trust.”

As some of our data is stored in the United Kingdom and United States, this is an issue that is relevant to Australians as well. Currently it seems we don’t know who actually has access to our data, which is a real privacy concern.