Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
- Millionaire Tyupkin Malware ATM Hackers May Come to US, India After Hitting Europe - October 23, 2014
- BitLicense Will Allow Bitcoin Spying in New York - October 22, 2014
- Australians are Fighting Data Retention Laws - October 22, 2014
Facebook has some really creepy settings. But the new Nearby Friends alert is the creepiest by far. Facebook settings have been criticized in the past for encouraging stalking. And Nearby Friends fits right in. At first glance it brings stalking on the social network to a whole new level.
Facebook Stalking with Nearby Friends
Nearby Friends allows Facebook users to receive alerts when friends are near. Facebook says it is an opt-in only feature, but users had better double check. Facebook has been less than forthcoming in the past about how different features work. Another concern is about who might be stalking you with Nearby Friends.
The feature becomes less creepy when we realize that it is a two-way street. Friends can only be alerted to your presence if you turn it on to send you alerts as well. In addition, users can select which friends they want to use Nearby Friends with. Another option is to put a time limit on Nearby Friends. This limits for how long friends can see your physical location. This makes it useful for met-ups and reduces the creepiness further.
Nearby Friends does have a lot of uses. But Facebook users will need to be very careful if they choose to use Nearby Friends. There will always be cases of hacked accounts and pretenders. Users can then be in very real danger. They can be physically stalked by malicious elements on the Internet. A hacker who has gained control of user accounts will be able to determine exact physical locations. Someone can also create an account very similar to that of a friend, family member or celebrity. Many would want to use Nearby Friends to locate their favorite people. They can be tricked into allowing access if they are not very careful. The scariest scenario is some weirdo who happens to get the codes to a friend’s account. Many crimes are committed by people that we know. The chances of getting stalked using Nearby Friends is high.
The Real Danger with Nearby Friends
Nearby Friends can send your physical location to Facebook anytime. This is true whether or not you set the app to broadcast for a limited time. In addition, Facebook has already said that Nearby Friends data will be sent to advertising companies. They did not say if they would do this for users who do not choose to activate Nearby Friends. Facebook has been known to leak user data. Personal details about lifestyle, relationships and movements can put users in real danger. And Nearby Friends puts users in real physical danger. The app can tell others where you live, work, and hang out. It is essentially a map of your life.
When using Nearby Friends, smartphone and tablet GPS is always on. This opens up users to hacks by thieves and government spies. Smartphones and tablets are also not secure devices. Firewalls and antivirus software are not well developed for mobile operating systems. The only defense that users have is personal VPNs. The Facebook network is not all that secure, either. The data that is collected by Nearby Friends can also be hacked or spied on.
Facebook stalking is not limited to cases of people being verbally abused on the site. Every day there are cases of users being slandered. But this slander grows and also spreads to other platforms. Personal information that is gleaned from Facebook is also often manipulated for gain. There are many cases of users who are physically attacked as a result of that information.