Do you “Control Your Info” on Facebook?

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Control Your Info's logo, which replaces the picture of their hijacked groups

If you’re like me, you probably don’t frequently check all those frivolous Facebook groups you joined on a whim. Seriously, it’s a Facebook group. No real commitment, right?

Well, there’s a new group that’s trying to prove otherwise.

According to a cnn.com article, an anonymous group has “hijacked” over 280 Facebook groups and renamed them “Control Your Info.” The group says its actions aren’t malicious, but are simply intended to inform people that anyone can manipulate your online information legally and easily.

These people aren’t a group of hackers. When an administrator leaves an open Facebook group, anyone can step up and become the new administrator. This means they can completely change the group, including the name and description. When the Control Your Info group hijacks a group, they leave a wall post that says “…we could rename your group and call it something very inappropriate and nasty, like ‘I support pedophiles’ rights.'”

The implications are obvious. Every group you join can be found under the info tab of your profile. Obviously, no one wants to display their support of pedophiles’ rights, but it’s unlikely that you would even notice the change.

Control Your Info says they will change the newly acquired groups to their original titles and information by the end of next week, but that’s beside the point. The issue they’ve presented is real, especially in a society where employers “Facebook stalk” potential employees and celebrities cause controversy with Tweets. Are we, in general, too careless about what we post on Facebook and Twitter? Are privacy settings enough to avoid online catastrophes? What do we, as college students soon entering the work force, need to do to keep our online record clean?

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8 responses to “Do you “Control Your Info” on Facebook?

  1. Wow. This is kind of terrifying, and messed up. I’m definitely going through all of my groups now. I can’t believe they put the pedophile note on there though-I feel like that’s a very low blow and horrible. However, I guess people will learn their lesson this way. But it still bothers me. I think today that we are an Internet generation, if we feel something or think something, it goes online. There are a lot of ways to stay safe online, including common sense. When it comes to your address, social security number, student idea etc. you just need to be wise and not ever include them online unless it’s absolutely necessary. As students we should Google ourselves regularly and keep a close eye on our online appearance.

  2. I do understand that people learn their lessons the hard way, but I do not agree with this. Going through Facebook groups and hacking other people’s profile just to “teach them the lesson,” isn’t quite justified. I feel like these people just want to have fun and use that as an excuse.

    If there hasn’t been an instance where someone hijacks Facebook groups, then why would you create a situation, inspiring all the crazy copy cats? There is an easier way to teach the lesson that this. Just create an FB group and campaign!

    • I seem to be in the minority so far with this opinion, but I think what Control Your Info did was great. I totally understand why people wouldn’t like it and why they’re now catching a lot of flak, but who cares? They’ve accomplished their goal: we’re all talking about it now aren’t we? Granted, maybe they could have renamed the groups something more along the lines of “I’m one of those people who lets my facebook get hacked” and less along the lines of supporting pedophilia, but again- they got their point across.

  3. We, as college students, need to be mindful of what we are posting about others and ourselves on Facebook and other Websites. Privacy settings should be taken advantage of by not making your profile “open” to just anyone–especially your pictures. Speaking of your pictures, you should probably delete the ones of you and your friends partaking in activities that your potential employer would not approve of. Basically, there is no for sure way to protect your Facebook, but you can at least make it look like you attempted to. This is an on-going issue when it comes to social media sites. Just be smart.

    • Dear Whoever Is Now In Charge Of The FB Group Supporting My Candidacy For VP Of My High School,

      Could you take it down already? While I appreciated your vote way back when, and sincerely hope you were satisfied with my actions during my time in office, I’d really appreciate it. I’m very ready for photographic evidence of my awkward 16-year-old self not to appear in google searches of my name anymore.

      Yours truly,
      Ann Schnoebelen
      Former Vice President of Xavier High School

  4. We have all considered Facebook a “safe haven,” unlike MySpace. I guess it was only a matter of time before someone proved us wrong.

    As for the merits of the experiment, I think it’s important for people to realize just hour vulnerable they become once they enter the realm of online social media.

    I think we have a tendency to be somewhat careless with our online profiles. We all like to go out and have a good time with friends. Even if we don’t upload pictures online, a friend is bound to tag us in a pic or two. Then what? It’s difficult to gauge just how much interaction we have on Facebook, even Twitter. I don’t really know if we can do anything to protect ourselves–it seems like anything we do will eventually be undone by someone smarter than us!

    • I agree with Matthew’s point. Even if you try to be what I call a “response-only” social media user, you can’t keep other people from portraying you in a certain light. Even if you didn’t have a Facebook account, that doesn’t stop people from putting your name on pictures or slandering your name on their own Facebook pages.

      I think only responding and not instigating interaction on social media has had its advantages and disadvantages for me. In some ways, I like being discreet on the web, but I probably haven’t taken advantage of social media enough as a networking tool (at least not voluntarily, without the prodding of my professors.) But, even I feel vulnerable in my limited social media use after reading this post.

  5. That is crazy. I had no idea that people could do this. It makes me want to double check everything I have on my Facebook, an leave all the random groups that I am in. I think Facebook tries to use the privacy settings to keep our information private, but I’m sure there are a lot of other loopholes that we aren’t even aware of.

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