Monthly Archives: January 2009

Hiding your Facebook pics? So you thought

I found this twist to Facebook security settings rather interesting.  it all started from a story I read on  A quick snippet from their posting:

Earlier this week I noticed that one of my friends had made their Facebook profile photos no longer visible. I wasn’t sure if this was because they had put me on a restricted friend list or if they had simply removed their profile photos. I awkwardly asked my friend why I had been blocked from viewing his photos and he said that he blocked everybody so his boss wouldn’t see his less professional photographs. Unfortunately my friend didn’t understand the power of Facebook’s custom privacy settings.

Within a day or two, that same friend had been tagged in another photo which ultimately made it to my news feed.

I ran through this same scenario with our teenager daughter who decided it was time to have a Facebook account.  While you may protect your own photos from being seen, if someone tags (ie: says it is you when posting a photo) and we share the same common friend, then I will see the picture.  Point blank, no hiding it.

Where does this fit in SocialStalking?  Imagine this scenario a couple of ways.

  1. Your boss happens to watch Facebook, or even a prospective employer.  They don’t see anything wrong with what you post and have checked you out quite often.  Then you attend a party when you were to be at work.  Or worse yet get caught in a compromising position during a picture.  That other person posts the pic and tags you.  Soon that picture you would have never posted ends up in a stream to be seen.  Your privacy features do not control that by default.
  2. You are a young adult out at parties drinking before legal age.  You would never tell your parents this, but like a smart parent they watch your friends on Facebook also to get an idea of how your friends behave.  The friend posts a photo of you, tagged,  in a group of drinking teenagers.  This, of course, shows in the picture stream your parent see.

The example list goes on to include pictures of you somewhere you were never intended to be.  Inside of Facebook you should visit Settings – Privacy Settings  – News Feeds and Wall to control what you allow to be placed across the streams.

However, the current privacy settings in Facebook DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO CONTROL THIS.  So if you are caught in a photo and get tagged, the best you can do is remove that friend.  However, it is to late by then

P.S. I found a good safety refresher right here by Joi and another from Jun 08 right here

Thoughts on the MySpace case findings

Without even linking to too many stories all over the web about the MySpace trial in California, I wanted to summarize my thoughts.  The actual event took place right outside of St Louis, so it was close to home.  Missouri had a crime law that was too specific and only including the telephone.  Even while it was modified (actual Senate changes ), the case was still not heard in Missouri.

I think that the instrument used in the crime, in this case a computer, should not have been the focus of the crime itself.  I say that since the trial was moved to where the MySpace servers are located and treated as a computer case in the charges filed.

I believe that if you knowingly cause physical or emotional harm to someone that you also knew had current emotional issues, then the crime is apparent.  Missouri said they couldn’t prove that harassment was intended:

"Their purpose was never to cause her emotional harassment that we can prove," Banas said. "There’s a difference between what people think or what we may believe the reason was that they created this, it’s what we can prove and what a jury would believe."

This quote is from St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas.  Maybe I am way off, but there was nothing but the attempt to cause this type of harm.  The whole purpose of the woman pretending to be a young boy and then dump a neighbor girl with a known emotional problem should be taken as humor?

The current Missouri law classifies the above as a class A misdemeanor unless done by someone over 21 years old against someone under 17 years old.  Then it becomes a felony charge.  Once again this meets the criteria if the state law had not been so old that it only included the telephone as electronic communication.

Each state, and federally, need to create laws to address the trends in social stalking, harassment and even squatting (which will be a post shortly).

Hopefully this quickly summarizes our thoughts on what happened and our thoughts are with the family and their loss.