Real World Rules Apply in Virtual Worlds

Recent research by IT security firm Sophos has shown that Facebook users are a little too keen to literally hand out their identity to complete strangers.

The company set up two profiles, one with a picture of a rubber duck as an avatar, and one with two cats on a rug, and using names based on anagrams of the words ‘false identity’ and ‘stolen identity’, and then sent friend requests out to 100 people. Two weeks later, the profiles had gathered a total of 95 friends. Even worse – 8 people requested to be their friends on their own initiative.

Of course, the amount of information we have on our profiles is up to us, yet it seems as if some people still see the Internet as a strictly virtual world, where nothing really can go wrong. The easiest way to avoid this (apart from not having all your information on your profile) is being selective to who you ask to be your friend, and who you accept requests from. I must admit, this does puzzle me; why anyone would want to be friends with someone they’ve never met, seen, spoke to, or heard about is beyond me. But maybe that’s just my old age talking…

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