Facebook users urged to take security measures

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A LOCAL IT specialist has called on social network users in Larne to take more responsibility for their own online security.

With the number of registered Facebook members recently passing the one billion mark, it appears that more people than ever are willing to share information about themselves online.

And Mark Anderson, who runs Larne-based company Comspec Computer Services, has encouraged users to be more aware of what they are sharing.

He said: “If you use social networking then online safety is your own responsibility, It seems almost daily that some news story or other is lambasting the use of social networking sites and the upheaval they can cause for people – whether that is breaches of their general online privacy, or the harassment certain trolls seem to enjoy directing to individuals.

“Facebook in particular has been subject to an almost weekly story, which by its nature can go viral very quickly, usually blaming them for not taking the privacy of their users seriously enough.

“It is definitely a worry the amount of information being publicly shared within social networking sites such as Facebook, but is this something that Facebook should be held ultimately responsible for, or are we as users not supposed to be sensible enough to look after our own information?”

Mark feels that users should be more careful about the information they share online, such as holiday pictures, photos of children, personal details, work-related posts and relationship information. And he has issued advice to help people stay better protected.

Mark added: “Facebook will facilitate the sharing of information through posts and pictures, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the user to ensure that only the people who should see this information actually see it.

“You can, using the options Facebook provides, limit who can see anything that you post. You can also block anyone you wish to, ensuring that your online presence is invisible to them.

“It is important that everyone who uses Facebook reads the security tools section, provided by facebook themselves.

“In addition you should periodically check your account settings, ensuring that you have privacy settings set correctly, and also remove any unwanted apps which may be spamming your friends list.

“Facebook have provided the security, and whilst their own attitude towards online privacy may not be just as strict as we’d all prefer, they have given users the tools they need to set privacy to their own optimum level.

“To blame Facebook is easy, but your own security is your affair. Ignorance is no longer an excuse, since the information is out there and easily accessible,” Mark concluded.