The Dangers of Facebook Oversharing

Can too much sharing get you in trouble?

Businessman concentrating on glowing computer attached to confusing tangled lines
Gary Waters/Ikon Images/Getty Images

How much is too much information when it comes to sharing on Facebook? When does sharing become oversharing, and when does it become a personal safety risk? Some people out there actually like oversharing, and some don't. Let's take a look at both the lovers and the haters of oversharing:

Stalkers love oversharing

Let's face it, the Facebook Timeline is like a scrapbook for stalkers. Timeline provides an easy interface where your friends, and depending on your privacy settings, anyone in the world can have quick access to all the things that you've ever posted on Facebook.

Stalkers just need to click on the year and month that they're interested in and Facebook Timeline takes them right to it.

With the 60 or so new apps that allow for what Facebook execs are calling "frictionless sharing", nearly every aspect of your life is potentially on display for stalkers to follow.

From the music you're listening to, to where you're "checking in" at in the real world, these little tidbits of information can help your stalker learn your patterns so they can know where to find you.

It's best to limit the sharing of your location on Facebook as much as possible or not share it at all. Use Facebook friends lists to organize your friends. Create a list of your most trusted friends and set your privacy settings to allow more access for trusted friends and highly limited access to acquaintances who might end up being stalkers.

Thieves love oversharing

Want to make yourself an easy target for thieves?

The easiest way to do this is to share your location information on Facebook.

If you just "checked-in" at the local gym and posted this to Facebook, then any thief who is trolling Facebook profiles will know that you are not at home. This would be a great time to rob you.

You may have restricted your privacy settings on Facebook to just friends, but what if a friend is logged into a publicly accessible computer, such as at a library, and forgets to log out or has their cell phone stolen?

You can't expect that your friends are the only ones who have access to your status and location just because your privacy settings are set to friends only.

Some Facebook apps that share your location may have more relaxed privacy settings than you are comfortable with and may be blabbing your location without you realizing it.

Check your privacy settings and also check to see what information your Facebook apps are sharing with your friends and the rest of the world. Limit them as much as possible to protect your privacy and personal safety. Never ever post that you are home alone.

Lawyers love oversharing

Anything you do on Facebook can and may be used against you in a court of law. Lawyers absolutely love Facebook because it helps greatly in establishing a person's character and where and when something took place. Facebook does a lot of legwork that a private investigator would normally have to do, such as learning who a person associates with (i.e. who their friends are).

Are you in the middle of a custody battle? Posting pictures on Facebook of yourself getting tanked at a party could help your ex-spouse with their case against you. Facebook postings often reflect our moods. A ranting status post might get you labeled aggressive or abusive by a lawyer trying to make a case against you.

Avoid posting while you're angry or drunk. If you're tagged in a picture that might be considered inappropriate, you can "untag" yourself so that the picture is not associated with your profile.

Remember that even if you removed a posting after it appeared, the post might have still been caught in a screenshot or sent in an email notification. There are no guaranteed take-backs on Facebook, so always think before you post.

Employers hate oversharing

Your employer is probably not a huge fan of oversharing. Whether you're at work or not, your actions can affect your company's image, especially since most people put who they work for in their Facebook profile.

If your employer reviews Facebook activity and sees a ton of it while you're supposed to be working, they might use this against you at some point. If you say you're sick and then your Facebook location says your checking-in at the local movie theater, this might tip off your employer that you're playing hooky.

Potential employers might also request a look at your Facebook profile to learn more about you. You might consider reviewing your Timeline to see if there is anything that might cause them not to hire you.

Worried about your friends posting something stupid on your wall or tagging you in an unflattering picture that might affect a potential job offer? Turn on the Tag Review and Post Review features so that you can decide what gets posted about you before a post goes live.

There are some things you should never post on Facebook. Use your best judgment and take responsibility for what you post about yourself and others.

Check out these other Facebook Security Resources:

Top 5 Facebook Scams to Watch Out For
How to Tell a Facebook Friend From a Facebook Hacker
How to Secure Your Facebook Timeline
How to Backup Your Facebook Data