To be honest, I guess, I’m asking this to myself along with millions of others out there who constantly ‘broadcast’ their global position through social networking services such as Facebook [Place?], Twitter, Foursquare, etc. It’s probably okay to share where you are heading to. But, are you aware who you are sharing such confidential information with?
Most people have over thousands of friends on Facebook. I wonder if they can even name everyone in their list. Honestly speaking, I have over 200 friends and I admit that I don’t personally know each of them. So, if a person doesn’t even know who he is sharing his location, isn’t he in a danger of his house being burglarized? This was long ago a question. But now, no more. The burglars themselves admitted that they used Facebook status messages to track their victim. They succeeded to attack 18 homes and steal goods worth of $100,000 to $200,000! [Source: New York Times Bits]
In case you didn’t know, there used to be a website named “Please Rob Me” where such messages used to be aggregated and, probably robbers, used to make the best use of them. If you want to attack on a specific house, and if you know the person, you could know his location through this website as it aggregates a number of check-ins/location-shares. However, the site has recently been shut down by its owner saying: “We are satisfied with the attention we’ve gotten for an issue that we deeply care about.“
This is pretty funny that you are telling where you are going to a strange-looking guy standing in front of your house who you don’t know anything about. Well, sharing your location with stranger facebook friends (and twitter friends, as well) is no different. Foursquare is another game to play with that is even more dangerous than Facebook or twitter status updates.
I am still not worried about my status updates when I say “heading to office” on Facebook because Bangladeshi robbers are still not smart enough to track Facebook status and then rob. And even if they were, I carefully choose my Facebook friends. However, I don’t think we can sit back without worries with our status updates for too long. Who knows maybe the local burglars over here in Bangladesh may upgrade their total system of burglary learning from their foreigner gurus.
Keep in mind that Facebook status can be useful for other things as well. Imagine you have a girlfriend who is possibly dating with another guy. She might be tracking you on Facebook and when you are out of your home, she won’t date with anyone. This is just one real life example. I can give you lots of such examples but you got an idea, right? Let’s not waste time on this anymore.
So, now the question in the title goes to you. Is it time to think about the risk you are going to take before you share ‘where you are’ with your friends (?) on social networking sites such as Facebook and twitter?
Ask yourself. Type in the answer in the comment form and hit Ctrl + Enter (CMD + Return for Mac, wait, do I have any mac visitor? ).