Facebook has come a long way since its launch in 2004. Many of those changes have come in the form of security, however, only a small percentage of users know about these changes.
“Social media has made it so much easier to reach victims now; a predator can literally shop for exactly what they want,” said Tim Mullis of the Dothan Police Department.
As a member of the Cyber Crimes Division, Mullis' warning comes from his experience with public profiles. With the constant updates to Facebook it's likely your original privacy settings don't exist, or aren't doing the trick anymore.
“You have to check your privacy settings at least once a month and I’m not saying that Facebook does this on purpose but, Facebook makes their money by how many people they say use their service, if you were to truly lock down your profile so that only your friends could see it, that doesn't help Facebook so that is one of the reasons why the settings do change so often.”
Meaning, parents need to step up to the plate.
“Parents should know their children's passwords and they should regularly check what's going on its not that you don't trust your child, but you can’t trust everybody else with your child and with Facebook they are in the middle of 4-billion users.”
Security measures aren't just for teens though, adults are also vulnerable online.
“If you don’t spend about 60-minutes per quarter, so four times a year going back through all of the privacy and security settings, there’s no question that they have changed in a way because of how Facebook does it that you are no longer safe,” explained John Sileo, Privacy Expert for The Sileo Group.
There are a lot of steps to go through to make sure your profile is protected, but the steps are necessary in order to keep your identity from being taken.