Facebook scoffs at social media privacy by taking over Home page

All Facebook Home will cost you is … well … your right to social media privacy on your Android phone. That’s a steep price to pay for Facebook Home saving you the extra step of clicking through a mobile app to access photos, updates and messages.

Facebook recently announced its new application “Home,” which will essentially replace the standard home screen of a user’s Android phone, giving users all Facebook, all the time. If you thought this social media colossus had control over data before, wait until users start willingly handing over their home screens. By doing so, they’re offering up valuable information contained in their mobile phones.

Facebook makes it very cloudy to know what you’re actually giving away. And though it may not be as much as the doomsayers predict, it surely is more than you’ll want to willingly contribute. For instance, Facebook’s new feature “Chat Head” combines Facebook messages with SMS. Even if it’s not collecting voice data from calls, it will likely gather data such as who you’ve called, how long you talked and how often that number is called.

Moments after the Home announcement, Facebook posted a memo on its website addressing privacy concerns. The fact that Facebook knew questions about social media privacy would be raised immediately after the unveiling indicates the company’s fear of user concern.

“Home is software that turns your Android phone into a great, living, social phone,” the message read. “Home doesn’t change anything related to your privacy settings on Facebook, and your privacy controls work the same with Home as they do everywhere else on Facebook.”

Notice that Facebook never claims not to violate social media privacy with Home. It just says that it won’t violate your privacy any more than it already does.

This is, unfortunately, not unchartered territory for Facebook – a serial offender when it comes to violating users’ social media privacy. These same questions were raised after Facebook revealed Graph Search earlier this year. Just like with Graph Search, Home will make it easier for Facebook to sell your personal data to advertisers.

That is part of Facebook’s brilliance and our ignorance – they know that most of us won’t take the time to read the Data Use Policy. Fool Facebook; read the Data Use Policy. Then we users can no longer plead ignorance, as we know exactly what Facebook is doing – creating an inventory of our private data and behaviors to sell to an adoring advertising marketplace that rewards them with a bump in stock value.

Make the right decision when Facebook releases the software this Friday – after all, home is where your privacy is. Or at least, that’s the way it should be.

John Sileo is a social media privacy expert and keynote speaker on reputation, privacy and cyber data protection. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.

Once you go hack, you’ll never go back: Facebook scheme wreaking havoc on digital reputation

Facebook identity thefts are nothing new. The social media site has been the vehicle for all sorts of fake links and bots in years past. But a new trick that could threaten your digital reputation is proving particularly insidious. 

If you get a message to “Experience Facebook Black” sometime soon, you’d be advised to turn it down, unless you’re OK with your digital reputation being hijacked. This latest hack could spread malicious software without you or your Facebook friends even knowing until it’s too late.

The scam allegedly works by offering users the chance to change the color of the Facebook background to black – and then asks for users to respond to a series of questions by giving out information. Of course, the promised color conversion is a lie: play into the hands of this fraud and you’ll just wind up as a means of spreading it further, with your information used to make a dummy page to trick your connections.

It appears to be yet another example of an attack that exploits Javascript, and it has proven pervasive enough to get attention from Google, seeing as its browser Chrome can also be affected.

Social media exposure is a larger problem that demands the focus of big companies and anti-spyware professionals. But much of the prevention boils down to basic user habits. Specifically: don’t trust suspicious links, don’t click on something you don’t trust, and don’t sign up for apps that direct you to an outside source. Your information can make other people money, and if you’ve put it on the web, then it’s ripe for the taking. Making use of an online reputation consultant can help companies learn how to safeguard their personal data – before someone else paints it black.

John Sileo is an online reputation consultant and keynote speaker on identity, privacy and digital reputation protection. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.

InsightOne20 Small Business Conference in Los Angeles

Those interested in how to prevent identity theft can attend the InsightOne20 conference on March 16, where John Sileo will be presenting along with Seth Godin. Guests can register for the event on the InsightOne20 website.

The presentation, entitled “Spies, Hackers and Facebook Attackers: Bulletproofing Your Privacy & Profits in the Digital Age,” will contain information and instruction on how best to avoid the pitfalls of digital privacy and social media. The conference is hosted by City National Bank, and is considered a premiere event for small businesses. It will take place at the LA Convention Center.

Businesses of all sizes have many risks to consider when it comes to the stakes of modern commerce. Social media and even basic online browsing bring with them a host of dangers that concern your digital reputation. But the risk is especially palpable for startups and growing companies that may not yet have a strong security network in place. All data is valuable, and this presentation will seek to impart some wisdom about the best way to keep your information secure while promoting healthy online habits.

The internet isn’t going away, and there’s no use denying the importance social media and online privacy has in both our personal and professional lives. That’s why it’s now even more necessary to take the proper steps to control your digital reputation then ever before. The recent glut of attacks on corporate titans has made this a crucial part of the national conversation – don’t be left out of the loop.

Guests can register for the event on the InsightOne20 website.

John Sileo is a digital reputation expert and keynote speaker on privacy, identity and social media. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business. 

Jeep jacked and Burger King busted as company Twitter feeds get hacked

So far, 2013 has been the Year of the Hack, as the past few weeks have proven positively lousy with big-name security breaches. 

Social networks, news outlets, and now…jeeps and fast food? That’s right, recent events have seen two prominent businesses get their Twitter accounts hacked, and worse. Not only did identity pirates shanghai the feeds (and therefore the reputations) of Burger King and Jeep, they used this illegal access to send embarrassing and scandalous messages to their followers.

Last Monday, @BurgerKing began tweeting that it had been sold to McDonalds, changing its image to a golden arches logo and posting ridiculous, wildly provocative comments about rappers and mad cow disease. The same thing happened to Jeep the next day, when its account claimed it had been sold to Cadillac and that its CEO had been fired for doing drugs.

The incidents had huge and bizarre repercussions. Many users tweeted quips about how hackers “had it their way” with the fast food giant. Actually, if the plan was to send people away from the burger chain, it backfired: Burger King now has 30,000 new followers and tons of media attention. In fact, soon after MTV and BET actually pretended to have been hacked, apparently just for the publicity.

Burger King’s well-managed response is a fantastic example of a corporate character trait I call repetitional jujitsu – using negative digital events to your competitive advantage. If you think that BK’s response was accidental, or casual, think again.

Despite the silver lining for the company, this is an alarming series of events. It may seem funny now, but will you be laughing when strangers start using your digital reputation for a prank?  

In response to this, Twitter is determined to make its system more secure by implementing use of the email authentication system DMARC, which will hopefully limit hackers from using false emails to gain private information. While this will help, only time will tell how much difference it actually makes.

It may seem trifling, but your digital reputation is vital to how you’re perceived in the offline world. Proper social media risk management is the key to combating such attacks, and its best to take it to heart before someone makes you the next big online joke.

John Sileo is a social media reputation expert and keynote speaker on online identity and risk management. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business. 

Digital Reputations Are Quickly Becoming Currency in the Business World

Are we entering an age where one’s digital reputation is a form of career currency – or are we already there?

That is the subject of an article in Forbes last month that gets some things right and others wrong. It absolutely seems like online histories and reputations could become more important than resumes, portfolios and credit scores.

Our digital footprints are already considered by others when determining if they want to hire or do business with us. And many people don’t even have a traditional resume anymore, but have substituted it with a LinkedIn profile.

Forbes goes through a handful of questions and offers its own answers on the topic. Yes, everything we do on the Web, from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, is becoming more and more connected, meaning that they influence one another as well as how others perceive us. But, there are a few things that the article misses the mark on.

For example, it says “use only the most secure sites for online transactions; and put all settings on the most restrictive possible.” It goes on to add that certain information will likely still seep out for companies to grab and use to target ads or other initiatives at you. But look at the holes in what the article says.

How do you know if a site qualifies as secure before conducting online transactions? And if a social media or other online platform has horrendous privacy settings, how does setting them to “the most restrictive possible” do you any good?

We don’t need generic rules to follow. Instead, we must cultivate a better understanding of internet privacy and online reputation management, so that we can take the steps necessary to protect ourselves. This doesn’t just apply to individuals, but businesses as well. Just like employers evaluate current and prospective employees through the lens of their digital reputations, so do consumers judge companies from which they might purchase goods and services.

John Sileo is an online privacy expert and keynote speaker on social media privacy, identity theft and fraud. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.