Well how surprising is it that after my blog from a couple of days ago someone decided to post my deceased brother’s picture on their profile picture on Facebook? Not only did they do that but they tried posting any personal information they could find out about me.Of course the coward labelled “Sam Lane” blocked me from seeing anything but their profile picture and cover but they did allow friends to see some of the posts. A very deliberate taunt.
Cyber bullies and trolls are always in full force on social media. Something that just too many adults and children experience today without much remedy. What is more surprising is that there is no mechanism within Facebook to report an issue like this. Unless the person posts overt threats – no one will intervene. Unless the troll is posting pictures of you – there is no way to report it. Facebook kindly suggests that you contact the troll posting and ask them to change it or remove it. Think of what this means for hundreds if not thousands of people bullied each and everyday on social media.
And behind every troll is a real person. In my blog last week I pointed out a couple of individuals who posted in plain site that they were conspiring to do something to me. Those profiles were real and as one mentioned he “is already taking that route now”. He initially tried to contact my webhosting server and insisted that they take down my website. He got quite nasty with them and then decided that he would come after me personally.
I see the post above as not a mere threat but an already executed action by the admission of the writer. This type of hate mongering and bullying is something people face each day on social media. But what does it do for everyday folks who suffer the consequences of the big bully? All too often especially with younger people the bullying can have devastating effects. But the laws on cyber bullying and libel are evolving and changing everyday.
No longer does a threat have to have criminal consequences to be considered serious or actionable. Those that delve into other areas of law are being recognized and challenged each day. A young teen in Georgia was being bullied by several classmates. They put up a fake profile page and posted many derogatory comments and photos of the girl. The girl and her parents sued for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Georgia Court of Appeals also ruled that the parents of the boy who put up the fake site could be held liable for not having him delete the page once they found out about it.
In my case, we have two grown up professionals talking about butting into an issue that they have only limited knowledge of and conspiring to cause me harm. Boys, grow up, concentrate on your families, your work and your maturity. Although people may feel they have the freedom to say or post whatever they want on Social Media, words can have a long and lasting impact.
What have you revealed about yourself online? Staying safe on line is important for everyone and no matter who you are or where you are, there are thieves waiting to steal information about you.
Last night on Facebook I noticed a post float down my wall which disturbed me greatly. It was probably posted with no bad intent but disturbed me for the questions it asked.
I have been astounded at some of the things that I have found out through Facebook about all my dog owner Facebook friends! I hope you all will let me and others get to know you better. You guys are really smart, have great jobs, and educated!! Hope to get to know many of you better!
If you will play along, and I will start. Tell: 1 What your name is 2 What your kennel name is 3 What kind of work you do 4 What your husband or wife’s name is 5 What kind of work they do 6 What state/country you live in 7 Do you have children/grandchildren?
But the biggest issue with this post was that it was public. That means there anyone from anywhere can see that post and its responses. No privacy filters set whatsoever. I was astonished to see that within 2 hours of her posting this that 18 people had given up their information.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
I cautioned my friends from posting a reply because her wall was not private and the information requested could be used against them in malicious ways – not necessarily by the person posting it but the world she made it available to
The woman requested the info replied to my post and fessed up to asking the questions. She said that she didn’t want people to be “paranoid”. You should be paranoid about what floats out about you on the internet. So, DON’T POST IT!
To try and emphasize how important it is to protect privacy, I sent her a private message and showed her what I found out about her within five minutes.
Her birthday and her husband’s birthdate
Her private email address
Where she worked, what position and for how long.
Her home address
The approximate value of their home
That there was an email address attributed to her husband that was firstname.lastname@example.org (a tad embarrassing at the age of 50+)
Two telephone numbers one home, one mobile
The next morning she told me that what I found was impressive but that she had a high profile on the internet because of her employer. So I googled her name and decided to check out what was high profile. Ok so first I get the LinkedIn profile = no big deal most working professionals put something up. Then a web address of her employer and her kennel web page. That is not high profile in the traditional sense yet the personal data can make you high profile to the thief that is building a data file on you. Birthdates? Home addresses? Property values? She should have been a bit more concerned than flipping me off with her high profile label. On any profile personal information is too much information.
Posting this information on Facebook is the same as writing all of your vital statistics and information down on a piece of paper and then posting it on the bulletin board at your local grocery store. Do you really think that is ok?