I am promiscuous. With my social networks, that is. If you scroll to the bottom of this article, you will see me for all I am! Same thing goes for Facebook, where I have 522, LinkedIn where I have 950 connections, and Twitter where I have 325 followers. They’re all rockstars and A-listers, but am I too trampy? Am I a slut? How do you handle your social networks? I consider what I am doing is being a connector, being a mini Kevin Bacon, not a prostitute. I love to game serendipity.
If you’ve opened up an account on Facebook or MySpace, you’ve probably received at least a few unsolicited e-mail messages from complete strangers begging to be befriended. And you’ve probably deleted those messages straightaway.
But some Facebook users don’t send those messages right to the trash, as the computer-security company Sophos found out. Sophos created a profile for a fake Facebook user named Freddi Staur (that’s “ID Fraudster,” anagrammed) and sent friend requests to 200 other randomly chosen Facebookers. In the end, 87 people made Freddi a friend, and nearly all of them shared some personal information — like their e-mail addresses or dates of birth — with the stranger.
And about one-quarter of Freddi’s new friends made their phone numbers accessible to him, CNET reports.
Sophos’s study may seem like a bit of a publicity stunt, but it makes an important point: While it’s been said that college students enjoy Facebook’s air of exclusivity, many students don’t seem to find a link between exclusivity and privacy. The tools to prevent Freddi from gathering phone numbers and e-mail addresses are there. But much of Facebook’s citizenry still isn’t using them. —Brock Read
Chris Abraham’s Social Networks of Love
- Chris Abraham Blog
- Abraham Harrison LLC
- Twitter Page
- Facebook Profile
- LinkedIn Profile
- YouTube Director
- Flickr Profile
- Friendster Profile
- Jaiku Page
- Pownce Page
- Tumblr Page