Facebook: Friend Who You Actually Know

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-08-20

Facebook has a simple tip for its users to stay safe online: "Friend" only people you know.

In a 13-page guide titled "Own Your Space," Facebook advised users on how to secure their accounts on the social networking site and provided some general tips on computer security. The tips explain some of the advanced security features on the site, such as setting up one-time passwords and secure browsing, account recovery after being hijacked and the social authentication technology.

The document discusses the basics of network security, including password management and recognizing different types of phishing scams. A handy glossary of terms, such as malware, phishing, gaming, clickjacking and "malicious script scams" is also included.

Users are advised to make sure they actually know all their friends on the site and not just accept any and every friend request that comes along. A recent report from ID Analytics found that five percent of adults in the United States will accept a social media connection request from a member of the opposite sex, even if it was a stranger. Men were more than twice as likely as women to accept requests from someone of the opposite sex, ID Analytics found. Interestingly, despite accepting so many connection requests, only half of the users actually trusted their friends to keep their information private, the study found.

It seems counter-intuitive, when the goal of Facebook is to make as many social connections as possible, to reverse the trend to only actual friends. Considering the number of spam applications that spread on the site because users think the link on their wall is from a trusted source, it actually makes sense to start off with the premise that the friends really are trusted.

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