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Posts Tagged ‘Spam Prevention’

Changes Facebook MUST MAKE To Photo Tag Options & Privacy Settings

January 18, 2011 9 comments

Current Facebook Privacy Options only allow you to set who can SEE tagged photos & videos of you

In the post “Simple Things About Facebook That Need Changing!” from August 9, 2009 I talked about a number of things centered around the message inbox & events that I thought Facebook needed to change to make their users’ experience more enjoyable. I know Facebook has made changes to the inbox in late 2010 but on my account I do not have the changes implemented yet. However, as far as I know, they have not put into place the changes I suggested a year and a half ago. Either way, I have some more changes that I feel Facebook needs to make and I actually feel even more strongly about these. These changes were relevant when I wrote that first post, I just hadn’t thought of them yet. It is just as well, because I feel that with the new profile pages showcasing the 5 most recently tagged pictures of you at the top this issue has become even more relevant. The content of this post has been banging around my head for a while but over the past week I had a discussion with my friend Jonathan about this and I decided I was finally going to write about it.

The Problem, A Solution, & An Annoying Result Of The Status Quo

People’s profiles on social media sites have become hot topics recently. There have been stories and articles about people caught cheating on schoolwork, people not getting hired, people getting fired from jobs, people being evicted, and even getting caught lying in attempts to avoid national conscription. It is obviously very important to have a handle on the privacy settings and options of our profiles on social media sites like Facebook. One of the major issues I have seen with Facebook specifically is in the options available to us to control pictures and videos being tagged on Facebook. Currently, we are only able to (as shown above) decide who amongst your friends, network, and the general public can see the photos and videos in which you’re tagged. We cannot, however, decide who can actually DO the tagging of us on Facebook. If we are friends with a person on Facebook, they can tag us in any picture or photo or video they please. This is something that must change. Facebook must IMPLEMENT A SETTING ALLOWING USERS CONTROL OVER WHO CAN AND CANNOT TAG THEM in pictures and videos. That is, unless Facebook decides to implement my second suggestion of tag management which I will get to below.

People who have also began to use this to their advantage and most people’s annoyance are promoters and organizers of parties and events. I have begun to notice a trend of being tagged in images of flyers for events where I’m not actually in the picture and it is actually a poster for the event. It’s the new tactic for promoters of parties and events to tag us in their event posters uploaded onto Facebook as opposed to merely inviting us to the event. This serves the purpose of not only getting the information about the event out to us but it also shows up on our Facebook news feeds so everyone else we are friends with sees the event to as it is shows up as a photo that has been tagged of us. An example of this type of tagging I have taken a screenshot of below.

Event Flyer uploaded & tagged on Facebook as if it was a real photo.

One of the most ironic things about the picture is that the person who posted this event advertisement and tagged all those people so doesn’t want his privacy compromised that he doesn’t have his full name on Facebook. Instead he prefers to remain on the site only identified with the last name “Br” which are the first two letters of his last name. I also chose his name to hover my mouse over to highlight what they are tagging. Cyrille Br is a guy, he is definitely NOT that model.

Another Solution

The other solution is somewhat close to the first one in that it allows more control over who tags you and where you are tagged. This method, however, acts as more of a stopgap to inappropriate tagging than a preventative. Basically, Facebook should allow you to turn on a setting where any time someone tags you in a photo or video on the site YOU GET TO APPROVE IT BEFORE IT GOES PUBLIC.

No longer will you wake up and find out the pictures from the wild party you went to last night have been uploaded to Facebook with you tagged in them and you hurriedly untag them hoping no one you know has seen them. Or, even worse, you wake up and find those same pictures uploaded only in this case 83 people – including your family, co-workers, and superiors – have already commented on them (or even worse, maybe it’s the phone call from your outraged significant other, parent, or grandparent that woke you in the first place).

Personally I like this second solution better than the first as it is just one click solution from the user standpoint and we won’t have to start dividing friends into lists of who can and who cannot tag us. It also means we won’t ever have the problem of thinking we can trust someone not to tag something inappropriate only to find out way too late that we really can’t. Removing them from the ‘trusted’ list at that point wouldn’t really help in the here and now.

Those are my solutions to the problem, what do you think?

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The BCC Option In Your Email

July 2, 2010 1 comment

This post was updated & edited to include the cartoon from The Oatmeal (seen below) on January 5, 2011.

I recently got an email from a member of my shul (Jewish word for synagogue) who didn’t have a reason to know my personal email address as I’ve never emailed them and they’ve never emailed me before. The email was about the launching of their new business. Now while that email in of itself could be considered spam its content is NOT what this post is about.

This post is about people’s seeming lack of ability to use the BCC line instead of the TO line when sending a mass email. If you do not know what BCC means allow me to translate the abbreviation. It means “Blind Carbon Copy”. What this means is that every address you put in that line/box marked BCC is hidden from every other address you put in that box. I can only assume that this person who emailed me got my address from someone else who didn’t use the BCC and that is how your address spreads around the world.

That is also how your address gets to spammers and spyware mailing lists. Let me explain how that works. If one of the +150 people who were recipients of this email decide to hit the Forward button and send it to a bunch of their friends without using the BCC box and they further don’t take the time to delete my and all the other email addresses from the list at the beginning of the forwarded message my email address just got into another untold number of people I don’t know’s address books anywhere in the world. This is especially true if some of those people decide to repeat the forwarding process in the same manner. Now my email is out there and if one of those people gets a virus or spyware or is themselves a spammer guess who just made the list of people to email? Me and every other one of those +150 recipients of the original solicitous email. (Which, remember, was essentially spam in the first place).

To quote Wikipedia: “It is common practice to use the Bcc: field when addressing a very long list of recipients, or a list of recipients that should not (necessarily) know each other, e.g. in mailing lists.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_carbon_copy for more as it really does explain a lot about BCCing.

Maybe the problem is that people who aren’t technologically inclined and/or weren’t brought up using email simply don’t understand what they’re doing when they don’t use the BCC line and email en masse. I will try now to further explain it using more Baby Boomer/run of the mill technological concepts (as I jokingly did in a Twitter conversation – a tweetversation? – with @r_tania_n last night):
Would you want someone to start posting your phone number and address all around the world on walls in public places? Think about the guy from Lifelock who in commercials puts his Social Security Number on a cube van sidewall and has it driven around town. The reason the commercial makes a point is because usually this is info you don’t want everyone in the world to have. The same goes for your phone number(s). Sure most of our house lines and even lots of cell phones are in the phonebook and available on the internet in numerous places but we still don’t necessarily want people to have it stored in their address books (or written in their personal phonebook like my mom has kept for as long as I can remember near one of the phones in the house). This would be especially true if you knew telemarketers has webcams set up to rove the cities looking for phone numbers for them to call. There’s a reason countries have set up National Do Not Call Lists (American DNCL Canadian DNCL).

In conclusion please, people; please learn to use the BCC line & teach others who don’t know how to use it to use it too! (Or send them to this blog to teach them & get me more traffic).

[Above Picture via The Oatmeal “If You Do This In An Email I Hate You” Post here]

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