New website reveals ‘private’ Facebook posts for the world to see

Macworld Australia Staff
27 June, 2012
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You might want to think twice before posting a rant about how much you hate your job, or professing your love for the girl next door. Why? Because what you thought would stay private, could end up on a website naming and shaming those who vent their personal frustrations via the social network.

Callum Haywood – an 18-year old developer – dreamed up an idea that shines the spotlight on how careless people’s behaviour on social networks can be, given that personal information is fair game for anyone’s eyes once it hits the online space.

With this in mind, Haywood took inspiration from a video that shows users how much of their personal information is published and accessible online without their knowledge. Following on from the original concept, he decided to develop a website of his own.

The project is called We Know What You’re Doing… and essentially it’s a wall featuring people’s complaints about their bosses and work environments, posting private phone numbers, admitting to drug habits and confessing to long-time crushes.

Haywood says his site illustrates the consequences of posting personal information online:

“These people probably wouldn’t want this info publishing, would they? Probably not to be fair, but it was their choice, or lack of, with regards to their account privacy settings. People have lost their jobs in the past due to some of the posts they put on Facebook, so maybe this demonstrates why.

Just make sure your Facebook privacy settings are sufficient, for example don’t publish status updates containing potentially risky material as ‘Public’ because then they have a good chance of showing up in the public Graph API. You don’t even need an access token to get this info, but the problem is not with Facebook themselves, when used correctly, their privacy controls are very good. The problem is how people simply don’t understand the risks of sharing everything”.

The site works by taking public posts from Facebook’s Graph API and Facebook Places and filters out extraneous text to make it more readable. After the site was live for 12 hours, Haywood said he’d had more than 10,000 visits.


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