Feds are on Facebook. Use privacy settings.

by Morgan Siem on March 18, 2010

in Uncategorized

It’s certainly controversial – the Feds using Facebook and other social media sites to garner data that they can use in lawsuits. I suppose that as an avid user of social media I should be outraged by the so-called infraction, but here’s the deal: if you get caught because of something you said on Facebook, it’s your own fault.

Not Smart

Not Smart

  • You opt in to use social networks
  • You opt in to post the information that you post
  • You determine the level of privacy you set for sharing your information
  • You determine who your social media friends are
  • Not to mention, you committed the crime (possibly) that the Feds want to lock you up for

Of course, having officials create false accounts to “friend” people under pretenses is sketchy, but in the case of Maxi Sopo (read When tweets can make you a jailbird), undercover work was unnecessary due to Sopo’s own public broadcasting of the information the Feds sought. That’s fair game.

If protecting your tweets, Facebook updates, Flickr photos and such from the Feds (or anyone for that matter – crazy ex, tattle-tale sibling, employer…) is important to you, then participate wisely. Understand the privacy settings at your disposal. Be aware of how data are shared and with whom. Understandably, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing settings on some of the sites (ahem, Facebook), but if it’s really important to you, there are resources to help. I’ve listed a few (of many, many, many out there):

Moral of the story (besides not breaking the law) is to use social media wisely. You are accountable for protecting your own privacy. Utilize the privacy settings offered by the various platforms and think twice about what you post.

What are your thoughts on government officials using social media to catch their criminals?

UPDATE 04.13.10

Facebook now has a new Safety Center. Check it out: Facebook Safety Center.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

David Dekker dave dekker March 19, 2010 at 7:26 am

I love the photo. It’s priceless! As far as law enforcement using social media, I am fine with it. It’s just another way for them to gather information to catch criminals. Some need to be caught. If people don’t like it, they can stop using these free services.


Lisa Sullivan March 19, 2010 at 9:24 am

On the one hand, because I practice social media responsibly, it doesn’t bother me.

On the other though, it goes against basic human rights. Yet, I realize Big Brother is here and has been for quite some time. I get that. I guess I just try not to think about it.


Evan March 19, 2010 at 9:26 am

This is perfect! I was just having this conversation with someone the other day… It is sad, however, that this is even something you have to say out loud. It blows my mind that people don’t respect their own privacy, filter their own thoughts, and jeopardize their relationships with friends and employers/employees as well as their own image by going on relentless passive-aggressive rampages via their facebook status. I will be cutting-and-pasting this article to a certain someone…


Joshua Sweeney March 19, 2010 at 10:17 am

That image absolutely brightened my day.

The subject matter is very serious, though. I would equate anything done online to being shouted outdoors in the appropriate venue. If you go online and post something inappropriate or threatening and don’t consider the consequences… well, there’s only one person at fault. That woman did the online equivalent of trashing her boss in the break room without looking over her shoulder first.


Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard March 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Great blog… I find social media fascinating in that it’s like alcohol… For some reason, it’s liquid courage, and then the next day you completely are baffled why you even said that. My personal philosophy on social media is the same thing as in life… Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say directly to that person’s face. If you can’t say it to their face, then probably not worth saying at all…


Morgan Siem March 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I’ll add to that, Michael – If you can’t say it to their face, WITH your grandmother, client and celebrity crush listening in over your shoulder, then… :)


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