After losing 7 million users over the last month, speculation is running rampant that it may finally be the beginning of the end for Facebook. Although CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that it’s perfectly normal for the amount of users to fluctuate each month…
the statement borders on making zero sense since, this is the first month this year where Facebook actually saw a drop in active users.
Even if you’re not a member of the small resistance that refuses to become part of the system and get a Facebook account, there may be good reason to be excited about prospect of the social networking giant tumbling down the same path as Myspace.
Last year saw an increase of 12% in identity theft cases, with a majority of that increase due to thieves utilizing online scams like phishing and spyware. One of the easiest and most frequent ways that they obtain this information is through Facebook. Unlike other social networking sites, even those that have common sense (there are a lot less of them than you think) who don’t carelessly enter their login information into a phishing page are still at risk, since Mark Zuckerberg has a compulsion to reset the privacy settings every few months so that new parts of your page are public.
Even if you think the absence of Facebook would not be enough to put a dent in identity theft rates if online methods only account for 12%, you should also consider that an increasing amount of burglaries are being committed with help from the social networking giant. Many burglars will create fake accounts and friend you, and use the information from your page and status updates (when you’re going on vacation, where you live, when you work, etc.) to plan a break in.
Regardless of how strong your home’s alarm system may be, you may be just as vulnerable as anyone else if you frequently post compromising information. A study done in the UK in 2009 found that over 40% of the 200 test subjects accepted a friend request from a “random” person (yes, you guessed right if you thought that fake account was a 21 year old hot chick).
So, the question is, will the absence of Facebook and its obscene amount of users spewing their private information through a not so private forum be enough to cause a considerable drop in identity theft and burglary rates, or will the next social networking giant simply fill that gap leaving crime rates unchanged?
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