Beware of Facebook Dangers

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Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Danger!! Hows that for a blog title that screams fear, uncertainty and doubt!? Fact is Facebook boast 400 million users and is in so many ways seems out of the control of its founder, and is looking dangerous. This is a company that has grown faster than fast and has a (very intelligent) 20 something CEO just out of puberty calling the shots. It seems the amount they (his Board? CIO? ) lets him run at the mouth that privacy is no big deal, shows an immature lack of control over this operation. Any company that wields this much power needs to be checked and balanced.

Their growing pains are publicly played out in numerous lawsuits and visceral rants by every possible pundit (like me) and privacy professional on the block.

Sure when you are that big there will always be someone who wants to take you down. But every week there is a new story about a security breach or a privacy violation. That tells me it’s more than growing pains or jealousy. There are serious management problems there resulting in reputation issues for the company and for the user, security issues.


The 3rd party applications in the form of games and quizzes are sharing data that’s not meant to be shared. While the user may agree to the terms of service, they aren’t reading the fine print. Is it really in Facebooks interest to allow this?

Seems like every 2 weeks they change whatever privacy settings there are and the public gets more pissed off with each change. Why doesn’t someone inside this company have a clue what the public wants? What’s more obvious is they don’t care!

Criminals and scammers set up fake profiles of companies and individuals all day every day. These social media identity theft profiles are designed to get people to provide data for free gift cards or other offers that ultimately allow for financial fraud to occur. Is there no way they can more effectively police this?

Recently, the chat feature was made public. For a period of time users chats were available for anyone to see. They had to shut it down to calm the mess. How the heck does that happen? Don’t they have redundancy built in to prevent this?

Ads appearing on Facebook are sanctioned in some way by Facebook and some are malicious. When clicked they can infect your PC. You would think that a private company worth billions would have systems in place to prevent its users from getting hacked via ads placed on their own servers?

So now that I’m done throwing up, protect your identity. Because when it gets hacked on Facebook, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Facebook Hackers on CNN.


Re-Blogged 7 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Harry F. D'Elia 05/27/2010 01:26 AM
  2. Patricia Aulson 05/27/2010 03:15 AM
  3. Robert Hammerstein 05/27/2010 05:20 AM
  4. Edward Cooper 05/27/2010 07:13 AM
  5. D B 05/27/2010 09:09 AM
  6. Tamra Lee Ulmer 05/27/2010 09:16 AM
  7. Michael Lissack 05/28/2010 08:13 AM
  8. Vick The Realtor . 05/30/2010 04:55 PM
  9. Michael Collins 06/01/2010 05:37 AM

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Don Stern
Realty Executives South Louisiana - Baton Rouge, LA
Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate

As others have said, anything you write on Facebook or elsewhere has the potential of becoming widely distributed.  For me, I always treat Facebook as if I'm at a party speaking with potential clients and colleagues.

May 27, 2010 05:36 AM #25
Jean Hanley
Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters - Hemet, CA
Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes

I still have not gotten very involved in FB, however, I do chuckle at all of my GROWN UP (???) Adult friends who play all those games all day long.  Even I was able to figure out that they don't give those games away for nothing.  It's all a big scam.

May 27, 2010 06:55 AM #26
Edward Cooper
Retired Mortgage Banker - Lender Consultant - Homewood, IL
all the best, all the time.

I had a FB account (Friends insisted I become a member).  I deleted the account after a few weeks.  Folks that I know and know me socially know how to reach me, after all it is a "social network".  

Maybe I am old fashioned but I like it better when social is practiced as an informal face to face gathering...

May 27, 2010 07:11 AM #27
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
The fake profiles and scammers need to be cleaned up!
May 27, 2010 07:15 AM #28
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I've always referred to it as: Sit on My Facebook. 

I think that's par for mentally of the young lad when he started FB.  And kudos to him, but GEEZ.  There's something to be said about life, and real world experiences.  Handling a company of that size, you wonder if he even has the knowledge to select his crew.  Who's really calling the shots?? 

May 27, 2010 07:27 AM #29
Lynn Krogseng
Keller Williams Premier Partners - Vancouver, WA

Robert, as one of 'those people' that actually read the fine print before clicking ACCEPT, I have not joined any of the Facebook Games.  I'm pretty nervous about having my self on Facebook (and Twitter and YouTube, even AR) and so don't post or say anything I wouldn't feel comfortable seeing on the front page of our local newspaper.  Seems people don't understand "no cost" isn't exactly the same as "free" as there is always a price being paid somewhere by someone.  In the case of the FB users, it's privacy.

May 27, 2010 07:37 AM #30
Ann Cordes
Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco - Waco, TX
Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream

Stuff happens, even with the best security. I read last week that the president of LifeLock, the top Id theft protection company, has had his id stolen over a dozen times.

May 27, 2010 07:51 AM #31
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Robert~  I like FB but am rethinking it since they are not protecting its users and don't seem to care!

May 27, 2010 08:07 AM #32
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

We are hearing more and more about issues with FB. You have to wonder what else is going on that we don't know about, all in the name of grwoing memebrship and creating more value for the founder.


May 27, 2010 08:10 AM #33
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Robert, loved your description of the young man at the helm of Facebook.  Has his acne cleared up yet?

May 27, 2010 08:19 AM #34
Duane Murphy
Expert Real Estate Partners LLC - Appleton, WI
Broker- Owner-Real Estate -

I am a FB junkie but as you mentioned you have to manage it like anything else. All of this "the sky is falling" is the same thing we heard when email started, etc. You just have to control what you do and take the precautions.

May 27, 2010 08:45 AM #35
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


Although The Face will offer a kill switch the content is cached somewhere on a server.

The Face banned Web 2.0 Social Suicide Machine. Then turned right around and lifted the ban. So it really does remain to be seen what Zuckerberg and his Boys will do. They're oh so unpredictable.

And frankly, the disregard for privacy is a huge concern. They pissed millions of people off by making the security changes and not actually telling anyone about it until the content was already cached. This reeks of immature business sense. The average Face user is, well, my age. At this age, we tend to keep an eye on people who are attempting to pull one over on us. We weren't born yesterday, they were :)


May 27, 2010 09:12 AM #36
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

I do agree that some of the comments made by the guy who came up with Facebook definitely don't sound like the words of a CEO, his thoughts and words are not carefully planned out.

May 27, 2010 09:32 AM #37
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

This sounds like a plot from John Grisham.  It does make one wonder when it is ever going to end.  Moreover, this problem actually seems pretty simple, let users decide and made the default 100% private unless the user opens it up.

May 27, 2010 10:24 AM #38
Marcy Moyer
eXp Realty of California Silicon Valley Probate, Trust, and Investment Sales - Mountain View, CA
Probate, Trust, and Investment Specialist

wow thanks for this post. i had no idea about the chat privacy thing... really scary stuff. 

May 27, 2010 11:35 AM #39
Matthew Bartlett
Hill Top Real Estate/BRE Lic. #01353034 - Glendora, CA

Great post Robert! I'm very carefull myself on all these social sites. However, Facebook offers many more opportunities for people to mess with you. I avoid the 3rd party applications. Not only are they a waste of time, but like you mentioned they open you and everyone in your network up to the various scams.

good luck,


May 27, 2010 02:41 PM #40
Jody Keating
Jody Keating Connective Realty,LLC, Bryan/College Station,TX - Bryan, TX
Broker/MM/Realtor, Bryan / College Station, TX

Thanks Robert for the eye opening post. I'm an FB, albet recent user, and although I have enjoyed visiting with people I haven't talked too in a long time, I'm not so hung up on it that I have to expose all my dirty secrets.......I just make sure that I only say things that I have no problem telling the world.....(that's if the world ever wants to listen)


May 27, 2010 05:07 PM #41
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I tend to agree with both of TLW's comments.  It seems they need a few overseers helping the company.

May 27, 2010 06:00 PM #42
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Thanks for the update. He created FB, he can make up the rules. If we don't wanna play by them, we can take our ball and go home.

May 28, 2010 10:08 AM #43
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

Like most big businesses they are worried about the dollar sign and not about what is right and wrong.

Jun 01, 2010 06:09 AM #44
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