Facebook has taken the world by storm but make no mistake, it has some fairly significant risks associated with it – particularly for business owners who are working hard to BUILD their online reputations and influence.
Not understanding these risks, and proactively protecting your Facebook account, will not be an excuse for an embarrasing “faux pas” that makes you and your company look ridiculous, silly, or in the worse case, unethical.
There are far too many Facebook risks and things you should know about them to cover in this one blog post. If you subscribe to my newsletter, I write about them regularly and do my best to keep subscribers up-to-date on the biggest potential risks.
You can also follow me at Facebook at my Practical Online Marketing Facebook business page.
But I do want to share a security risk associated with some, if not all, Facebook applications right now. That risk is the giving “access” and “authority” to these applications to post on your behalf and contact your Facebook friends on your behalf.
I came across the one below just a few minutes ago when I logged into Facebook. It is from one of the people I follow on Facebook and it was “auto” posted on their wall. I see it because I follow them so it shows up it on MY news/update feed.
Yes, I just said it was AUTO posted.
My Facebook friend didn’t post it, they didn’t get asked to have it posted, the app posted it FOR them and AS THEM.
This particular app is called the Predictor application.
It is supposed to tell you WHO is looking at your profile.
And it may do that, I won’t ever know because installing these type of apps is too risky in my mind.
Facebook applications are generally third-party applications, or “software,” that “attaches” itself to your Facebook account. In almost all cases it asks you for permission to do so. Also, in almost all cases, people do NOT read the details of what this software is attempting to do or WHAT IT WILL DO once you approve it.
Case in point: Predictor
Once you install Predictor it can and will invite your friends and post to your wall. Its “pitch” is that it can tell you who is visiting your Facebook page and About information.
Approve and install this application and you just gave it access to (a) all the information about you, (b) information about who your friends are, (c) access to act on your behalf and communicate with your friends on your wall and directly via Facebook messaging – without you giving it expressed permission or even knowing it.
That’s like giving the keys to your home to a cleaning person… and SURE… they clean your house, but they also make off with all your valuables! And all you did was ask them to clean your house.
Bottom line: Be careful what “apps” you approve when using Facebook. You could quickly and easily find yourself in a very embarrassing situation.
Expect more of these type of “less than friendly” and risky third-party applications to sprout up at Facebook. There are hundreds already.
At least now you know the risks associated with approving Facebook applications.
Two additional warnings…
I’d also stay away from bit.ly links or other short links you see that are on web pages, in email messages, or in the social media posts of people you don’t know and trust!
Another Facebook app that does this type of thing is the BranchOut “networking” application. I got about 50 requests last week from friends who approved this application in their Facebook account. I’d stay away from BranchOut like I’m staying away from the Predictor application.