Recently there seems to have been an explosion in the use of Facebook to gather friends phone numbers following the loss/theft/change of mobile phones. This makes sense if you only have “real” friends on there. However, it makes me sad to see the number of people who are setting up groups to gather these numbers without paying due care and attention to the access rights.
Over the past month I have seen several items in my news feed telling me that so and so wrote their phone number on the wall in a group set up by one of their friends. I tend to click on these group names just to see how stupid the person who set it up was, and every time the group has been open access. I’ve joined each group and written a note on the wall informing them of this, and the owner of each has been surprised.
So who’s fault is this?
Facebook? They could certainly make the options a bit clearer when the group is being set up. If it were me I’d make it so the user has to specify the type of access rather than having a default option pre-selected.
Users? As always people don’t seem to value the security of their personal information enough to think before using it on the internet. This confuses me because they tend to be the same people who complain when they get marketing phone calls and spam emails. Facebook goes to great lengths to limit the exposure of the personal data they hold on you, but they can’t do anything to stop you entering it in other areas of their site such as walls.
It’s the same old problem. Your personal info is your identity, and with it bad people can do very bad things. At the very least they can annoy the hell out of you, so think first and keep it safe.