Can FB be used to track my kids down?

You may have seen some recent Facebook posts regarding National Sons and National Daughters Days, which encouraged parents to post pictures of their kids,  both adults and children. A FB friend of mine expressed concerns that this could be dangerous:

“I don’t know about you but until the last week or two on Facebook, I’d never heard of National Daughter Day or National Son Day. So we’re supposed to post a nice clean picture of us and our kids? Part of my gut wonders are bad actors behind a created holiday so they can get a nice clean picture of us and our kids so they maybe they can use that picture in a future phishing scam or account cloning scam. Plus if you used the hashtag, you gave them a roadmap of where to find all the pictures. Just something to think about when we all repost or jump onto things on the Facebook.”

Some valid concerns, but I have a few logistical issues with his logic. Posting as part of National Sons or Daughters day doesn’t change your privacy permissions. If you have your photos set so that only friends can view them, only friends who could already see your photos will be able to see your posts. Adding a hashtag to a post does not change the privacy setting of the posts. If your privacy settings only allow friends to see your posts, only friends will be able to see your posts with a hashtag on it.

Strangers aren’t going to be able to see where you live on Facebook, unless you make that information public and post about it publicly. My greatest concern would be the crooks might use the information about the names and ages of kids to figure out your passwords.  But you shouldn’t use the names and ages of your children for passwords, anyway. And strangers are only going to be able to see that information if you choose to make it public.

You could share that information with people you don’t know in one of two ways. One is that you don’t have your Facebook privacy settings adjusted to only show posts to friends. The other is that you accept friend requests from people you do now know. Both are bad ideas.

The other thing I would add to this concern is that the majority of children who are harmed are harmed by their parents, relatives, or close friends of the family that have been entrusted with their care.  Unfortunately, in the case of bad actors harming children, the danger is often much closer to home than Facebook.  The greater danger to children from Facebook is when they’re a bit older and allowed to use it unsupervised and come into contact with those who might wish them harm.

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