#1  
Old 12-29-2016, 07:17 PM
velomont velomont is offline
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Facebook question

Hi all,

I have never had a Facebook account and, because of my military background, could be considered a tad paranoid (or careful, depending on how you look at it). I am interested in establishing a Facebook presence but I would like to know one thing - is it possible to set everything up, including and particularly security settings, before "going live"?

Thanks
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Old 12-29-2016, 07:51 PM
GaryM GaryM is offline
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I can't exactly answer your question, but some of my law enforcement friends are on Facebook with IDs that are not their names, but phonetically can sound something like their names. I imagine that would make them harder to find with a search of their real names.

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  #3  
Old 12-29-2016, 08:40 PM
sevenwood sevenwood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velomont View Post
is it possible to set everything up, including and particularly security settings, before "going live"?
That depends on what you mean by "going live". If you mean "before I post my first message", yes. If you mean "before the account is activated at all", then I don't think so.

However, you can certainly set up your account minimally (as I recall, you have to set up your username and give Facebook a valid email address), then set up your privacy settings - and come back much later to fill out your personal info (if in fact you want to fill out any personal info at all).

Also, note that Facebook only wants your email address so that Facebook can contact you. Your email address is never listed publicly. After all, Facebook doesn't want folks contacting you via email - they want folks contacting you via Facebook.

Last edited by sevenwood; 12-29-2016 at 08:44 PM.
  #4  
Old 12-30-2016, 03:19 AM
BigT BigT is online now
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They use that email address, though. If your email address is in someone else's address book, they'll recommend that you they become friends with you and vice versa. If you want to stay completely off the grid, get a burner email account and use that.

As for the rest, yeah, just keep it anonymous, then set up privacy settings, then put in any information you might want to include. Personally, all I have is my name and what high school and college I went to, and then some family members. I don't have my phone number, and don't even have my gender (as I found leaving it out decreased the number of spam with camgirls and such. Though that was before the current Inbox system.)
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:15 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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I don't think there's any guarantee that Facebook will perpetually honour the same levels of privacy as it does now though, is there?

I'm dubious when sites like FB start nagging me for phone numbers, even though I understand the ostensible reason being for account recovery in case i forget my password etc. It seems like the sort of thing that might be sold at some future point, after a stealth change to the T&Cs
  #6  
Old 12-30-2016, 04:43 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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And if you use WhatsApp, I believe it will harvest your phone's contacts lists and see if they match up to others on Facebook that FB then suggests as friends - and would no doubt suggest you as a FB friend to them.
  #7  
Old 12-30-2016, 05:26 AM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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What is it you're scared of. Are you worried that people will know you exist? Paranoia of social media strikes me about the same as people who block their license plate in online car sales ads; I just don't get it. Are they worried someone online might see their license plate? How is that worse than the hundreds of thousands who see it everyday in real life, on the road, in a parking lot?

Sign up. There's nothing to worry about. Don't share anything you wouldn't share with a stranger. But your name and your picture isn't going to result in a bunch of fraudulent credit card accounts or leave your bank cleaned out.
  #8  
Old 12-30-2016, 09:12 AM
Ornery Bob Ornery Bob is offline
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How it all plays out is always in your total control. Facebook, or anyone or else for that matter, only knows what you tell them. What YOU tell them. You decide what name and email account you give them. You decide what information, personal or otherwise, you give them. You decide every step of the way, so I think it's all a non-issue.

Will the information you give to them be used for marketing purposes either directly or indirectly? Of course, and in point of fact, how could it be otherwise? Do you have any idea how much traffic the site gets and the resources required to make it work? It's staggering.

The money comes from the fact that Facebook is an advertising company. They sell views; they don't sell email addresses.

People go to Facebook because it's fun. It's contact with family and friends, it's games, it's gossip, it's "entertainment."

Since the beginning of time, advertisers have given away entertainment for a shot at eyeballs and Facebook is that exact model. They understand that if it's not fun, it all goes away, and getting bombed with spam isn't fun so it doesn't happen.

If you get something from it, use it. If you don't, then don't. There's nothing nefarious going on, they're a friggin advertising company - tell them anything you want, or not.

But there's an underlying social premise of Facebook that comes from when it was first born on a college campus... if you don't have "friends" on Facebook, there isn't much to see. You have to reach out to people and they have to accept you. So who do you want to be and who do you want to reach out to?

And since they're not idiots, Facebook keeps track of everything you do for every minute you're on the site. If you contact Susie Q and she accepts you as a "friend," then they take what they know about her and add it to what they know about you, even if that is nothing. Susie Q knows Ornery Bob, so they offer Ornery Bob to you as a possible friend and if you accept, then they know that since Ornery Bob and Susie Q went to the same high school, maybe you did too, so they start offering people from that high school.... an so it goes.

In the end, everything they know is because you either tell them explicitly or with your actions.
  #9  
Old 12-30-2016, 09:15 AM
DrCube DrCube is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I don't think there's any guarantee that Facebook will perpetually honour the same levels of privacy as it does now though, is there?
No, and in fact, there have been instances in the past where updates to their website or app completely change or obliterate your privacy settings. I think that happens less now, but it's something to be aware of. No matter what your privacy settings are, whatever you put on Facebook is theirs and they can do what they want with it. So it's best to treat Facebook as if it were 100% public, even if you can make it as private as you'd like, currently.

In addition, remember the privacy settings are just keeping honest people honest. You can make it to where only certain people can see the pictures you post or things you say, but any one of those "friends" can take a screenshot and post it publicly all over the internet, and there's nothing you can do. Deleting the post or picture won't stop it.
  #10  
Old 12-30-2016, 09:16 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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I do the "maximum security, minimum information" method ... and I limit my friends ... but that's all general internet security measures ... seems to have worked so far ....
  #11  
Old 12-30-2016, 09:48 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
What is it you're scared of. Are you worried that people will know you exist? Paranoia of social media strikes me about the same as people who block their license plate in online car sales ads; I just don't get it. Are they worried someone online might see their license plate? How is that worse than the hundreds of thousands who see it everyday in real life, on the road, in a parking lot?

Sign up. There's nothing to worry about. Don't share anything you wouldn't share with a stranger. But your name and your picture isn't going to result in a bunch of fraudulent credit card accounts or leave your bank cleaned out.
Increasing the exposure of any information can increase the risk that someone will misuse it. There probably are categories of information that are already so public and useless that making them more public does no harm, but in general, erring on the side of caution is not an unwise strategy.

Here's a memorable case where already-nonprivate data was misused because it was injudiciously shared more broadly:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7174760.stm
  #12  
Old 12-30-2016, 03:47 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
If you want to stay completely off the grid,get a burner email account.
Quote:
WhatsApp will harvest your phone's contacts lists and match up to others on Facebook
But doesn't Facebook also attack* your email address book on the computer you are using?--like Whatsapp attacks your phone?
If so, does it really help to use a 'burner', throwaway email address when you register for Facebook?

If you log into FB from the same computer or the same smartphone every day, won't Facebook easily figure out that your original email is just a fake red herring? They can see that your throwaway email address has zero crosslinks anywhere in the world, but the contacts list on the device which use every day is a gold mine--- full of lots of familiar email addresses which Facebook already knows intimately.


(yes, I know I sound paranoid--but I'm asking this as a serious question. Please don't Pit me!)


A little off-topic, but relevant :
Let's compare Facebook with this site. Here on the Dope, everybody is always very,very careful about privacy. We criticize Trump, or Hillary,or our boss, or our mother-in-law--- safe in our anonymity. We tell deeply personal,sad stories about our dying grandmother or our sick kittycat---but still remain anonymous. It's possible for somebody to identify you in real life by doing detective work, i.e. reading a couple hundred of your posts. But it's a lot of hard work, and unlikely to happen, and not easily searchable.

But on Facebook you are exactly the opposite; You post about politics, or your sick kitty, and the whole world might see it; Facebook does all the detective work for free. After all, even though you might have set up strict filters on Facebook, not all your friends do. It is very likely that somebody else will copy or post a comment about your story of attending a Trump rally, or about your sick kitty, or your evil boss-and it's easily searchable.


--------
* (by "attack" I mean "access and read without your permission")
  #13  
Old 12-30-2016, 04:01 PM
velomont velomont is offline
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
What is it you're scared of. Are you worried that people will know you exist? Paranoia of social media strikes me about the same as people who block their license plate in online car sales ads;.
Good question. And at this point in my life (57 yrs old) my worry probably isn't a probable one. Bear in mind that I simply am not familiar with FB so my concern may be completely unrealistic. Basically I don't want someone else posting pictures of their "gonzo" party, or resurrecting some pics from my past and posting them on my site (or whatever it's called) without my knowledge or control.

I do have a Linkedin account and I do want to maintain a professional, albeit small, presence online blah blah blah.

So I will accept any advice, even regarding some online "FB for dummies" type of thing.


Thanks
  #14  
Old 12-30-2016, 06:33 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Facebook has lots of privacy settings these days (that wasn't nearly as true just a few years ago). For example, almost all of the major settings have a range from 'Public' to 'Only Me' plus several in between like 'Friends Only'. You can certainly set up an account where everything except your name is visible only to you or to the groups that you choose and it isn't very hard. The only things you have to share are some type of realistic name (it doesn't necessarily have to be your real one) and a profile photo (it could be a goldfish if you want).

You can easily hide your location, job, photos, posts and everything else with just a few clicks. As long as your profile isn't wide open, nobody can post to your timeline without you accepting them as a Friend first and, you can selectively delete posts from your Timeline if you ever had a traitor in your midst.

I have been on Facebook for almost 10 years and my profile is fairly well locked down. I have never had an issue with it and the risk is a whole lot lower now that you can control who gets to see what content at a granular level.
  #15  
Old 12-30-2016, 09:38 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
But doesn't Facebook also attack* your email address book on the computer you are using?--like Whatsapp attacks your phone?
No, because unless you give FB your password it can't access your email on a computer. Phone apps are somewhat different and have more ways for FB to access that info. But using the FB website this simply isn't possible. It will ask you to provide access to your email so it can search for possible friends, but it needs you to provide your password to do so. Just say no to it.
  #16  
Old 12-30-2016, 10:54 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Originally Posted by velomont View Post
Good question. And at this point in my life (57 yrs old) my worry probably isn't a probable one. Bear in mind that I simply am not familiar with FB so my concern may be completely unrealistic. Basically I don't want someone else posting pictures of their "gonzo" party, or resurrecting some pics from my past and posting them on my site (or whatever it's called) without my knowledge or control.
You can definitely set this up. You have the option to allow no one at all to tag (label a picture with your name on it) you or add things to your wall where other people can see it. You can also choose the option where people have to request to do either of those things. And then you will get a notification asking you to Approve the Tag but hide the picture from your wall, or Approve the Tag and allow the picture on your wall (if you like it), or even Deny the tag, and request the picture to be removed. To be honest, I have seen several instances where someone has politely asked the person posting the picture to either remove it or block out the other person's face. Usually because it was a horrible picture or the person looked fat or something. Not usually for scandalous reasons.

The ironic thing, is that people are probably already posting pictures of you that you don't want on Facebook (assuming such pictures exist). By signing up and creating a very restrictive account, you can will have more visibility of that. When you become someone's friend on Facebook, you can see a lot more of their pictures and stuff. Most of their pictures and their personal information stays hidden from non-friends. Which is an optional security measure.

Personally, I prefer to be found. Even my phone number is stored in Facebook, to the point where if someone were to enter my phone number into the Person Search field, my profile would pop up. And I haven't changed my cell number since 1996! And before that, I think this number was my pager as well. I've pretty much given up on my dream to be an International Spy, so I don't mind being so public. But on the other hand, I don't post often. Usually just a picture or two of myself or my wife, or pictures of where I happen to be traveling. I don't post anything political or religious (or anti-religious). I pretty much treat everything I post as something I'm sharing with the world.

But I'm also the guy on The Dope who used his first and last name as a Screen Name. So... take that advice with a grain of salt. But for keeping in touch with other, or for catching up on old friends from your past one cannot beat Facebook.

I also do not have a negative opinion of targeted advertising. Facebook ads are unobtrusive and show up in your newsfeed along with the posts of your friends and other people you're following. If you don't like the ad, or it is irrelevant to you, there is a little drop down menu that you can quickly select to tell the system you don't like that ad. It is in their best interest to only show you ads that appeal to you, so if you don't fight the system, it actually isn't bad.

The future is coming, and it will not be 1984! Hell, the other day I walked into Target. My phone new I was at Target because of the GPS, and it quickly notified me of a sale going on that I would be interested in. I think it was my Samsung Pay app that did that. But anyway, that was something immediately relevant to me. If we're going to have to put up with advertisements (and we will... always) we might as well get some benefit from it. I'd rather get messages like that than random ads about Snuggy sales in Wisconsin somewhere.

But anyway, you can control the privacy settings and make your profile as restrictive or as available as possible. If you just follow the general rule that everything you post could possibly be seen by other people no matter how much you try to hide it, then don't post it! That way, if there is a temporary glitch in the system like someone upthread mentions, you aren't left exposed with all your information and personal pictures out there.

You will have the opportunity to enter credit card and bank information and phone numbers. You don't have to do that if you don't want to. But what do you think would happen if that information were hacked out of Facebook, and someone used that account information? Your credit card would not hold you accountable for those charges! That's what would happen. Stolen identity was a problem before Facebook. As a good practice, you should be checking your credit report every 4 months anyway. There are three agencies allowing free annual credit reports. Check one every 4 months. If someone tries to steal your credit card from Facebook, you will see it on there. But more likely, there will be a huge public notice or news article explaining the security breach. So it will be pointed out to you!
You're more likely to have credit card or personally identifiable information stolen some other way (like at a restaurant) in which there comes no notice or news article.
  #17  
Old 12-30-2016, 10:58 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
You can easily hide your location, job, photos, posts and everything else with just a few clicks. As long as your profile isn't wide open, nobody can post to your timeline without you accepting them as a Friend first and, you can selectively delete posts from your Timeline if you ever had a traitor in your midst.
You can also choose to have a wall that does not allow any comments at all. Or you could choose to only allow additions to your wall after approval, as opposed to having to delete it after it is approved automatically. You will get a notification that someone would like to add a picture to your wall. You look at the picture and decide to approve it or not. As Shagnasty said, there are tons of selections in between.

As far as keeping your job and location and other stuff hidden. You can also chose to not give Facebook any of that information to begin with.
  #18  
Old 12-31-2016, 12:43 AM
Lucas Jackson Lucas Jackson is offline
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
What is it you're scared of. Are you worried that people will know you exist? Paranoia of social media strikes me about the same as people who block their license plate in online car sales ads; I just don't get it. Are they worried someone online might see their license plate? How is that worse than the hundreds of thousands who see it everyday in real life, on the road, in a parking lot?

Sign up. There's nothing to worry about. Don't share anything you wouldn't share with a stranger. But your name and your picture isn't going to result in a bunch of fraudulent credit card accounts or leave your bank cleaned out.
This. It's safer than driving to work. Regarding Mangetout's link, I could post a link to someone who fell out of a plane with no parachute, fell thousands of feet and lived. Does that make it safe to skydive without a chute?

Get it and read the info about the privacy settings and relax.
  #19  
Old 12-31-2016, 08:51 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
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Originally Posted by Ornery Bob View Post
How it all plays out is always in your total control. Facebook, or anyone or else for that matter, only knows what you tell them. What YOU tell them. You decide what name and email account you give them. You decide what information, personal or otherwise, you give them. You decide every step of the way, so I think it's all a non-issue.
This is not true. Facebook knows not only what you tell them about yourself, but what all your friends tell them about you. Even if you don't have a Facebook account, Facebook may already have an internal profile on you containing your name, e-mail address, photos you appear in, and a list of your friends. This is because Facebook encourages your friends who do have Facebook accounts to upload their e-mail address books (where your name is linked to your e-mail address) and to tag you in the photos they post (thus linking your name/e-mail combo to a face). From this explicit data they can guess, with a high degree of confidence, a lot of other information about you, such as your other friends and family members, your employer, your location, etc.

If you care about your friends' privacy, you should never tag them in Facebook photos without their permission, particularly if they don't have Facebook accounts.
  #20  
Old 12-31-2016, 09:47 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by White SIFL View Post
This. It's safer than driving to work. Regarding Mangetout's link, I could post a link to someone who fell out of a plane with no parachute, fell thousands of feet and lived. Does that make it safe to skydive without a chute?
No idea what that analogy is supposed to illustrate. The more widely you share a thing, the greater the chance someone will misuse it, even if it wasn't private to begin with.
  #21  
Old 12-31-2016, 12:37 PM
Lucas Jackson Lucas Jackson is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
No idea what that analogy is supposed to illustrate.
That the exceptions don't make the rule. There are 1.79 billion monthly active Facebook users. Pointing out one case of it going wrong doesn't make it unsafe.
  #22  
Old 12-31-2016, 12:56 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by White SIFL View Post
That the exceptions don't make the rule. There are 1.79 billion monthly active Facebook users. Pointing out one case of it going wrong doesn't make it unsafe.
That was not the point I was trying to make. 'Relax' is fine advice, but think first.
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