Pros and Cons of Facebook

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Facebook Dangers

Because students often post detailed and specific information on Facebook (including phone numbers, addresses, class schedules, social plans, etc.) you can be more easily stalked by strangers (or even acquaintances).

Identity theft can also be a significant risk of social networking. Personal details like your full name, names of your family members, your phone number, birthday, address, and place of employment can all be used by identity thieves. "Passport-style" profile photos also make it easier for identity thieves to replicate your online presence.

Catfishing:

Coined from the independent film "Catfish," which follows a filmmaker who discovers the truth about the online relationship he has been conducting with a woman whom he has never met, "catfishing" occurs when a user creates a false or highly-exaggerated social media profile for the purposes of conducting a relationship online. Some profiles are created out of boredom or loneliness, while others are created to exact revenge or cause embarrassment to the targeted party.

Common signs[1] that you are being catfished can include:

Inability to contact the other party "in person" - their cell phone is broken or has been stolen, they will not use Skype or SnapChat, they will not or cannot meet you in public despite the seriousness of your relationship.

Their photographs appear to be highly edited, stylized, or otherwise unrealistic. You can search Google by image file in order to determine whether the photos you've received are legitimate.

Details of their personal life consistently changing, or they have a life story that seems unbelievable or outlandish. If the relationship becomes too intense, they may develop a life-threatening illness, or...

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...ion about you[3]. Using a group photo for your profile picture can also make it more difficult for thieves to replicate your identity online.

Be prepared to answer questions about your social networking page or other social account in job interviews. It has become common for interviewers to ask applicants, "Are you on a social networking site?" and "What is on your profile?" Be prepared to either decline the question or answer honestly because employers will most likely look at your social networking account themselves... if they haven't already.

[1] "Everything You Need to Know About the Catfishing Epidemic," DigitalTrends.com, Molly McHugh, August 23, 2013

[2] "Tracking Twitter, Raising Red Flags" The New York Times, Pete Thamel, March 30, 2012

[3] "Identity Theft on Social Media: Are You at Risk?" Better Business Bureau, Katie Burgoyne, June 20, 2013

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