The Dangers of Facebook Oversharing

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How much is too much information when it comes to sharing on Facebook? You need to know the answer to this question because oversharing can become a personal safety risk. Some people — thieves, lawyers, and stalkers — like oversharing, and others, such as employers, don't. Take a look at both the lovers and the haters of oversharing before you make your next Facebook post.

Stalkers Love Oversharing

Your Facebook Timeline is like a scrapbook for stalkers. Timeline provides an easy interface where your friends and — depending on your privacy settings — anyone else in the world have quick access to all the things that you've ever posted on Facebook. It also provides access to your profile information with all your personal information, which potentially includes your workplace, current city, relationship status, and phone number. 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" in the real world, these little tidbits of information can help your stalker learn your patterns and 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's privacy settings to close down the public's ability to see your timeline and profile information. 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. Limited access to acquaintances who might end up being stalkers.

Thieves Love Oversharing

The easiest way to make yourself a target for thieves is to share your location information on Facebook. When you "check-in" at the local gym and the information posts to Facebook, then any thief who is trolling Facebook profiles learns 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 in to a publicly accessible computer, such as at a library, and forgets to log out or has their cellphone 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 post that you are home alone.

Lawyers Love Oversharing

Anything a lawyer learns about you on Facebook can and may be used against you in a court of law. Lawyers love Facebook because it helps establish a person's character and where and when something took place. Facebook does a lot of legwork that a private investigator normally has to do, such as learning who a person associates with.

If you are in the middle of a custody battle, posting pictures on Facebook of yourself getting tanked at a party could help your ex-spouse with the case against you. Facebook postings often reflect our moods. A ranting status post might cause you to be labeled as aggressive or abusive by a lawyer who is 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 the picture is not associated with your profile.

Even if you remove a post after it appears, the post might have been caught in a screenshot or sent in an email notification. There are no guaranteed takebacks 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 where they work on their Facebook profile.

If you make negative comments about your employer or Facebook or share privileged information, you can harm the company.

If your employer reviews Facebook activity and sees you make posts while you're supposed to be working, this information could be used against you at some point. If you call in and say you're sick and then your Facebook location says you're checking in at the local movie theater, your employer can figure out that you're playing hooky.

Potential employers might 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 before you give permission.

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 is 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.