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Opinions Sat, 24 Sep 2011

Stop, Look, Listen! Watch What You Put On Facebook

Social networking without a shred of doubt is the biggest phenomenon of the last several years. Of the many platforms available, twitter, my space, baddoo et al, are living in the shadows of the Zuckerburgan invention of FACEBOOK.

Statistics have it that, if the population of Facebook were captured within the context of a country, it would have passed as the second populous member of global sovereign jurisdictional fraternity (country, nation) and for that matter the fastest growing one at that.

So beyond being a populated assemblage of people spanning all four cardinal bearings of any compass, would it be fair then to as: who is not on facebook?

Now unto substantive stuff, I have always laughed at names that people have adopted on facebook, from real life names to the funniest, craziest, weirdest and sometimes most despicable words, phrases and clauses, how about this? Inkglob discombobulated fluer.

Jolted I was when the ‘privileged’ guys who run facebook notified me that I had exhausted the number of times that I could effect a name change to my profile. But why was that I wondered? Thank ALLAH though that my name at the time (Alfa Allahguide Shaban) was by every estimation a good one.

The question then is; how many people are conscious of the fact that they have limited opportunities to change their facebook names? Better still, how can a person ascertain how many chances there are left to effect a change?

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As a new user of the social network platform, a person may be overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and delusions of putting their images and that of others on the platform for as many friends as they have to savor, feed their eyes on and comment.

Personally my pictures are off the platform after several considerations, in any case there are other more interesting and pulsating pictures that a person can get online and upload as a profile picture, which by far sits better with me.

Here is the big one, if you did not know, I happened to type my name into the google image search slot only to find a picture I ever used as a profile picture, the truth with information fed into the internet is that, it is stashed away in some system somewhere.

Information fed-in is hardly ever deleted completely once uploaded; evidence is borne in the book ‘Cybersafe’ authored by Gwenn Schurgin O’keeffe; “What we put on cyberspace never truly goes away, we have to consider it permanent because there is likely a copy somewhere, to think otherwise is foolish.”

The long and shot of it is that on facebook, privacy to say the least is relative; but really really, the concept if you like is ABSENT, someone somewhere (known or otherwise) can certainly have access to what you feed into your profile.

Let us jump into realm of image upload on facebook: the story is told of how a brother tried without success to delete a dead sister’s account simply because he did not know her password even though people kept making lewd and disparaging heart throbbing comments that her numerous friends kept making on her pictures.

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Admitted that after a while, inactive accounts on the network are deactivated, I guess we should not wait till such a time that little or nothing can be done before we resort to knee jerk reactions which are almost always woefully inadequate.

Thousand friends on facebook means presumably that there are as many and more persons out there are privy to as much information as we are willing to share in our facebook profile, mind you copying some of these data is as easy as the word.

At least we ALL should learn to share our facebook passwords with a trusted confidant. Simply a critical move that could even help such people update our status when we are unable to and also when death – the inevitable visitor – calls us, they can deactivate our account in line with our demise.

I love Islam, Allah Knows, Allahguide!

© Abdur Rahman Shaban Alfa Email: alfarsenal@yahoo.com, newcguide@gmail.com Facebook name: Alfa Allahguide Shaban

Columnist: Alfa, Abdur Rahman Shaban