Facebook can be a booby trap for people in the public eye. And you don’t have to be famous to get caught out. I’ve seen public servants, senior executives, front-line staff and company representatives all find themselves in hot water with a simple slip of the mouse.
1. Check your security settings regularly. Facebook is constantly changing its security settings. You need to stay on top of what you are and are not allowing others to see. Pay particular attention to the Timeline and Tagging settings, which control the level of privacy on what others are saying about you.
2. Ditch the funny profile photo. I know of a case where two men were killed in a tragic accident. The media sourced photos of them from their Facebook profiles and plastered them all over the news – one posing in his uniform and the other obviously taken during a long Sunday-afternoon session with the boys.
3. Be careful what you Like. Yep. That new Facebook page “I think the Government sucks and should be thrown out at the next election” was really funny. It’s just a shame you’re a public servant and your boss doesn’t agree. You might also want to think twice before Liking “I’m not an alcoholic – I’m Australian” or “If I could punch you without getting in trouble, believe me, I would”.
4. Keep track of your friends. Remember your second cousin’s ex-girlfriend who befriended you on Facebook a few years back? She now works as a journalist for the local newspaper.
5. Your friends have other friends. It’s a great lark when you and your friends share a “private” joke about what you got up to on the weekend. Just be aware that they have other friends who may not see the funny side. You particularly need to watch for this one if you missed point number 1.
6. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive a car, a keyboard or a mouse.