t we been through this before, with MySpace? There are ads out there begging people to click on them and download FacebookAgent. Supposedly FacebookAgent is free software that allows you to view people’s private Facebook pages.
Of course, we all know better than this. FacebookAgent is just another scam. By now, all of us have learned that “It can’t hurt just to click on it and see what it is” is a fallacy. It can hurt, and it will. I don’t know whether FacebookAgent is trying to steal your identity or give your computer a virus, but I do know that I’m not falling for it. Just like the need for mortgage loan restructuring spawned all kinds of financing scams, Facebook has been at the root of a lot of online scams.
Facebook pros and cons
Clearly, millions of people love Facebook, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a fast, easy form of communication for many. Finding friends from way back, staying in touch with people all over the world and playing games are just a few of the reasons people think Facebook is fabulous.
Unfortunately, there’s always someone out there who wants to ruin everyone’s good time. Facebook phishing scams try to steal people’s login information, and I’ve known a lot of people who have fallen prey to these. Usually it results in spam messages being sent out from their Facebook pages. However, the consequences can be much worse if you use the same password for your Facebook account and, say, your bank account.
Is FacebookAgent a blessing in disguise?
You know, I am a big fan of finding silver linings, and I suppose some good could come of this FacebookAgent business. The idea is to con people into downloading malware by offering them software that lets them look at people’s Facebook pages even if the owners of those Facebook pages don’t want them to. So probably a lot of online stalkers and other such creepy types have gotten their computers infected, which teaches us an important lesson: Don’t be an online stalker.
Sure, there are probably plenty of people out there who had innocent intentions when clicking on FacebookAgent. After all, we’ve all run into the scenario when we think we might know someone on Facebook but can’t tell by the picture and name alone. However, for those who wanted to use Facebook to pry into people’s lives without permission, FacebookAgent might give them what they deserve.
Always good advice
Of course, this FacebookAgent issue brings up an excellent point that can’t be reiterated enough: Don’t put anything on Facebook that you don’t want the whole world to see. Sure, you can control who you are friends with, you can set your page to private and hope that your boss doesn’t see you complaining about your job online, but why risk it?
A good rule of thumb is to assume that nothing online is private or anonymous. We’ve all read stories in the newspaper about why we shouldn’t put anything we don’t want potential employers, teachers or our parents to read. If you want to keep your private life private, just setting your Facebook page to “private” isn’t enough. Take a lesson from FacebookAgent and don’t put private information online.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Posted by news update at 11:16 PM