As Facebook becomes more deeply ingrained in our daily lives, it is important that we remain vigilant when using the site so that we can protect ourselves from harm. When using Facebook for business practices, you leave yourself open to hackers, competitors who might want to do you harm and others who can quickly make your life hell as you attempt to socially network with your primary audience. The following tips will help to keep you protected when using Facebook so that you can get all the benefits out of the social network without any of the headaches.
Separate Email and Difficult Password
When you first sign up with Facebook, the platform asks you to supply an email address. To remain as safe as possible from snoopers, hackers or anyone else with malicious intent, it is recommended that you use a distinct email address just for Facebook. Then, create a password that is very hard to guess. Use a combination of numbers and letters. If you use a standalone email address and you make your password complicated using random words, numbers and letters, there’s little chance of your Facebook or any other social network being hacked, ever.
Set Privacy Settings
When you first sign up with Facebook, you might think that the platform has your best interests at heart and that your privacy settings will automatically be set to the most secure setting. This is definitely not the case. Your privacy settings aren’t enabled until you enable them.
Careful with Personally Identifiable Information
Many people like to populate their Facebook profiles with their real names, address, phone number, birth date. You might as well supply criminals with your social security number, mother’s maiden name and the name of the first street you grew up on while you’re at it.
If you are using the social network for business purposes, keep all information about your business and you won’t become a victim to identity theft.
Beware of Phishing
Hackers and scammers are incredibly smart and crafty. The typical phishing scam involves email. You receive an email that states that there is a problem with your account or that you have new messages or anything else that might get your attention. When you click on the Facebook link provided, it takes you to the login page. The problem is that this login page isn’t the social networking login page at all, it’s a Phishing site. It’s a page that’s designed to look like the actual Facebook login page, but it’s a complete fake.
If you get an email from Facebook, always login by going to the main site. Make sure any links you follow come from Facebook and not from some scammer.
Email isn’t the only way to be phished, however. Hackers and scammers are now using apps on the social networking giant to try to steal personally identifiable information from you. Apps often record a lot of personal information about you, your friends, your habits and more. Make sure you trust any Facebook apps you plan to use so that you don’t get taken by a phishing attack.
Watch How You Communicate
There are a few ways to communicate on Facebook. You can write on someone’s wall, which is public and can be seen and shared by that person and their friends; and you can also write a PM, which is a private message that is only visible to you and the person you’re sending the message to.
No matter how you are communicating, be aware of the information you’re sending and how you’re sending it. Never submit personal information to someone’s wall. This is a common mistake people new to the social network commit all the time. They think they’re posting a private message and they end up spilling the beans about a sensitive subject to anyone who has the privilege of having that message in their timeline.
Some good advice is to read over your message once, twice and maybe even three times before you hit submit.
Study All Photos Carefully Before Posting
Facebook photos allow you to add a visual element to your social networking profile. Choose photos that are high-quality and that don’t reveal too much about you. Too many online marketers have posted photos that include their mailbox with their home address in the background or maybe even their phone number.
And some marketers have posted photos that show something a little less than professional in the background. We won’t elaborate, but some marketers have gotten in a lot of trouble because they didn’t look over their photos thoroughly before posting them.
Your photos can say a lot about your business, but make sure they don’t say too much. As long as you examine every photo thoroughly, you should be ok. While this may not save you from phishing attacks or other types of attacks, it can save your professional reputation, which is equally as important.
Be Selective About Friend Requests
Finally, when you are making friend requests or accepting them, make sure you trust the person on the other end. Do they have an established profile? Are they in the same type of business or are they within your target market? Scammers often create fake Facebook profiles in order to gain entry to your Friends list. Once there, they can wreak havoc. Don’t give them that chance. Treat your friends list like a VIP list and you’ll keep yourself protected from scammers, suspicious marketers and anyone else on the social network wishing to do you and your business harm.