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.
- 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):
- All Facebook
- All Facebook – 10 New Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know
- YouTube Privacy Notice
- Flickr Public vs. Private
- MySpace safety tips & settings
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?
Facebook now has a new Safety Center. Check it out: Facebook Safety Center.
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