Homework 1 emphasizes using social networks such as Facebook.

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A. Create (if you don’t already have one) and use a Facebook account to interact with friends. Note: For these activities within Facebook, you are welcome to include your professor and other students in the class. However, you do not have to. You are welcome to just use your known friends

B. Perform the following specific activities:

1. If needed, create your Facebook account.

2. Login and personalize your account with a picture and provide other education, sports, interests and activities as desired.

3. Find and friend someone in Facebook. (You can always defriend them later.)

4. Try to find a childhood, school friend or co-worker in Facebook.

5. Post on the walls of 2 of your friends in Facebook.

6. Read your News Feed in Facebook. “Like” a friends status update if you want to.

7. Chat with a friend through Facebook.

8. Create and manage a photo album in Facebook.

9. Configure and customize your privacy settings in Facebook.

C. Prepare a well-written paper no more than 2–3 pages in length In this paper you will cover the process of setting up the Facebook account, issues you encountered, privacy settings and the justification for selecting those setting, and how you envision using this account in the future. Be sure to show a screen captures and a description of how you successfully completed activities 1-9 listed above. Discuss any personal or computer security issues you have with using Facebook or other social networking sites.

Reading Materials







Perhaps the best way of protecting sensitive information is not to post it on Facebook at all. If you still decide to post sensitive information and/or pictures, you must have a definitive plan in regard to who will be allowed to see it. After all, one of the main purposes of social networking is to share information, so you want to be able to do so in a safe, responsible manner.

Perhaps a good place to start is to list what not to do.

  • Do not link apps to Facebook. You have no control over what the developer of that site might do. If you must post links to apps, be sure to omit any information that could be used for identity theft, such as your birthdate.
  • Do not post unflattering pictures of you and your friends on Facebook. If you do, restrict who can see them on the album level.
  • Do not post your personal information or send it to anyone! Such information includes
    • telephone numbers
    • home and work addresses
    • the name of your school or employer
    • names of family members (especially your mother’s maiden name)
    • bank/financial information
    • car registration number/insurance information
    • private medical information/history
  • Do not post any unflattering comments about other people (could be viewed as wire fraud and get you in BIG trouble).

Once you know what not to post, or at least have a plan to minimize the impact of the sensitive information you will post, it is important to understand who will be able to see it. Within Facebook, the “check your privacy settings” screen (figure 1.2) provides you with a snapshot of who can see what. It is a matter of trust. Note that allowing everyone to see your family and relationships perhaps is not a good choice, so maybe limit access to your status updates to friends only. Carefully implementing this logic is the first line of defense. How to do so will be covered in detail later in this document.

Figure 1.2 Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook  screen image shows the Privacy Settings choices

Source: Facebook (privacy settings tab), 2012

You need to be aware that Facebook does not always protect your information, and to some extent it goes out of its way to share it. According to an article in Consumer Reports magazine (2012):

Facebook collects more data than you may imagine. For example, did you know that Facebook gets a report every time you visit a site with a Facebook “Like” button, even if you never click the button, are not a Facebook user, or are not logged in?

Your data is shared more widely than you may wish. Even if you have restricted your information to be seen by friends only, a friend who is using a Facebook app could allow your data to be transferred to a third party without your knowledge.

Legal protections are spotty. U.S. online privacy laws are weaker than those of Europe and much of the world, so you have few federal rights to see and control most of the information that social networks collect about you.


Review your how you connect settings. It is these settings that control how people locate or connect with you on Facebook. This might include who can search for you via e-mail, who can send you friend requests, or who can send you Facebook messages. Of course, the least protected setting is “Everyone,” and the most protected is “Friends only.” “Friends of friends” is between the two.

To get to the “How You Connect” screen, go to www.facebook.com and log in. Then, in the upper right corner of your login screen, you will find a drop-down menu that includes “Privacy Settings.” Click that, then click “Edit Settings” next to “How You Connect.” The screen below should appear:

Figure 1.3 Facebook’s “How You Connect” Screen

Facebook  screen image shows choices for how you connect.

Source: Facebook (privacy settings tab), 2012

Certainly everyone has preferences, but it might be a good idea to limit who can look up your e-mail address or phone number to friends only. Also it might be a good idea to limit the other two categories to just friends of friends. If you do that, though, you are assuming your friends are doing a good job of screening their friends, so if you feel that is not the case or if you want extra protection, limiting all three categories to friends only might be your best option.

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