"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow


This blog post was originally posted at Zennie62.com.

(aka, I copy and pasted it directly to this blog)

When my Facebook was hacked I was asked to send an official government issued I.D. as well as bank statement (or anything else that comes in the mail that can show my proof of residence) to prove that the account truly was mine.

I have had my fair share of issues with Facebook. From disabled account,hacking, terminated accounts, fake profiles made of me, etc. So, for those who have been complaining and talking about Facebook privacy (read the policy) -- although that may be a big issues, there's a lot more to be worried about.

Facebook privacy has been a popular topic amongst many media outlets. It seems like I have read at least 57 different articles from different sources talking about Facebook privacy.

This entry is somewhat of a "prequel" (I can't think of a better word) to the blog entry I am planning for Friday/Saturday. I am planning on doing a "word of the week" blog entry dealing with Facebook Privacy issues, but I felt like I should discuss it a bit on this blog beforehand.

I am directing this at Facebook, but really this can be said for Internet privacy in general. If you don't want something to be seen - don't post it.

On Facebook users are given the option to choose what people searching for them are able to see. They are able to send and receive friend requests, and put different friends on lists that customizes what the friends in each list/group is able to see.

When posting a status update users can choose who will be able to view the update. The only thing that Facebook users do not have control over is what the people they allow to view their content will do with their content.

For example, if someone has a group specifically made for college friends and then a group made for family and makes it so family members are unable to view posts on walls, status updates, etc. then family members in that group will NOT be able to view those posts from their profile.

Facebook even lets you see how your profile is seen when someone searches for you.

Maybe the problem is that people don't know HOW to customize these privacy settings, because most of the settings need to be changed manually.

I am not trying to say that I am smarter than others, but I think that it is generally assumed that most people do not read the "terms of service" before accepting. I always read those.

If anyone has had issues with Facebook I am on the top of that list. My first Facebook account was terminated after being disabled four different occasions. Each time lasted less than 18 hours, and the reasons I got were that I was poking too frequently, sending too many messages, etc. The OVERUSE of my Facebook was the reason for the termination. I was 18 at the time and I was really upset by this, because I had my Facebook since I was 16. From December 2006 until November 2008 I had that Facebook account.

I was unable to obtain ANY of the photos I had saved on Facebook. I had to start over from scratch. I sent many e-mails offering to bake Mark Zuckerberg brownies if I could please get my Facebook account back. I was worried about what would happen to those photos, to the personal messages I had sent, and any other information I had. I tried to sign onto the account, and to this day if I try to sign on it says that it has been disabled by an administrator.

When I first created my new Facebook I got a warning from Facebook saying I was adding friends too quickly, and that I was being looked at as suspicious for spam. I was adding friends quickly so that I would be able to get the friends back that I had lost from my other account. My other account had over 1,000 friends, and it can be hard to remember the names. Many of the friends I had made were through networking, previous sources, etc. Starting over from scratch was a bummer.

But it's even harder when someone else claims to be you. I searched "Nikky Raney" on Facebook and saw five other accounts using MY photo, claiming to be me. If you want to complain about privacy issue, how about identity issues. Ireported most of the accounts to Facebook, but there are still some existing. It was hard battling it out with my "fake accounts." I would message my friends to say "this is my real account, add this one." And the fake account would be sending out the same messages. I had to deal with a lot of stress and trying to prove my real identity.

Then, in fall of 2009 I had my Facebook hacked. I remember that this lasted for 13 days. It was an incredibly hard 13 days, because I realized how much I NEEDED Facebook. I had told people I would contact them via Facebook for interviews, and since I had them on Facebook I had not asked for a cell-phone number to contact in case. I did not think there was an "in case." I have learned since from that. I never conduct interviews via online, but I like to plan interviews and set up times to meet and talk prior via online.

While the hacker was on my account I was getting texts from my friends asking why I was sending them strange messages. I was concerned about the private information that I may have within my Facebook messages.

I felt so desperate. I felt pathetic for relying on Facebook so much. It was embarrassing. I sent numerous e-mails to Facebook. I read through the Privacy Guidelines, Help Center, Forums, etc. I had been e-mailing Facebook from a different e-mail than the e-mail address my account was registered with, because the hacker got to my e-mail too. That was the e-mail address I used to access MSN, and I had lost all those contacts as well.

Facebook officials e-mailed me asking for a copy of my government issued ID, and a piece of mail received that showed proof of residency. I wanted my Facebook back, and I followed the instructions.

I finally got my Facebook back, but they had linked the new password to my old e-mail address. I had to quickly sign on with that address and change the e-mail linked to my account so that the hacker would not be able to do it again.

I went through all this work just for my FACEBOOK account. With all the talk aboutPrivacy, I started to wonder if I made the right choices. Or should I have made a THIRD Facebook account.

Does Zuckerberg still have a copy of my non-driver's license? Will Zuckerberg go on my previous & disabled Facebook account and find my information there. DoesMark Zuckerberg have access to all of our Facebook accounts?

I would advise you to read about the privacy on the web site and to do theresearch needed. To be safe, above all, I would advise that do not put anything on Facebook that could be used against you in the future. As much privacy and trust we have, there is always that chance that something bad could happen.

Before you jump down my throat about how stupid I was to give all that information out - I felt like it was something I needed to do, and I trusted that the information would be kept private. So far so good, I hope. I have learned to besmarter with my Facebook actions, and when I am setting up interviews and interactions I use my personal e-mail address as well as my phone. I still haven't been able to get Facebook to terminate the "fake Nikky Raney" accounts, but I have been able to make it clear to my friends that it's really me.

I am helping my mom a lot with her Facebook, and I have had to do lots of things with her privacy settings. I really hope that people getting into Facebook read all the fine print and do some fine-tuning.

I turn 20-years-old in 17 days, and I have come along way since first joining Facebook in 2006. Being put through the privacy tests, hacking, termination, and other situations has really gotten me to appreciate non-social media interaction a lot more. We rely so much on the site that we forget that Zuckerberg could decide he's sick of Facebook and delete the website entirely tomorrow (please don't!).

Always read the "terms and conditions" before accepting.

I still love Facebook, and I am glad that I got my account. I am using my account for networking and not getting tied into the applications like Farmville (I'll save my Farmville rant for another blog). I trust Zuckerberg to keep our stuff private, and I don't plan on leaving Facebook. And if I ever got my account disabled for overuse of the site, I would just keep coming back. I love my Facebook and there's nothing you can do about it!

P.S. And for all the people searching "HOW DO I DELETE MY FACEBOOK?!?" You can always get it terminated. Just send a lot of messages to your friends, send a lot of friend requests, poke everyone you know, and use the site 24/7. The over-use of Facebook got my first account terminated, so I am sure it will work for you.

I will be doing a follow up on this on Friday on my website/personal blog "The Future Of Journalism"

This blog entry was written by Nikky Raney
For questions or suggestions don't hesitate to e-mail me

(the links throughout this blog -the words with hyperlinks attached- link to web sites that will help anyone with privacy questions. Each link is DIFFERENT. I decided to spread them throughout the entry instead of just listening a list ofprivacy help links at the end. So if you are looking for links/articles aboutFacebook privacy, just click around at the links within this entry)


"Most journalists now believe that a person's privacy zone gets smaller and smaller as the person becomes more and more powerful." -- Roger Mudd

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