It’s the 21st century and social-networking is where it’s at. If you don’t have a social profile setup in cyberspace you probably have been told you live under a rock. That may not always be a bad thing. And here’s why. Facebook is one of the hottest social-networking sites. If you have a Facebook profile, you’ve probably seen many a posts from friends claiming “see who’s tracking your profile” by installing this application. Have you been tempted to click on the application? Come on, you know you want to see who your Facebook stalkers are. You’re probably guilty of Facebook stalking yourself. It’s OK. We are all guilty of trying to scope out an old crush from time to time or friends from high school that we don’t see anymore. Curiosity is human nature; good thing we aren’t cats!

Here’s a tip for you; do not try to download the stalker/tracker application. These applications are phishing scams and are outright untrustworthy. What these applications are set out to do is gain access to your profile in order to sell it to advertising agencies or hijack your account for personal information. You will find that they do not track who viewed your profile, but you may find that you get spammed or worse, have your identifying information available to a real stalker or con-artist whose only interest is stealing your identity. Facebook is trying to do their part in preventing these phishing scams. According to Facebook’s current privacy policy; “Facebook does not provide applications or groups with the technical means to allow people to track profile views or see statistics on how often a particular piece of content has been viewed and by whom. If an application claims to provide this functionality, please report the application by going to the application’s About page and clicking “Report Application” at the bottom of the page, or by clicking “Report” at the bottom of any canvas page within the application.”

Even with Facebook’s privacy settings in place, The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigative study last spring that uncovered many apps on the social-networking site have been providing the Facebook user ID to advertising and Internet tracking companies. This means they are getting access to people’s names and any related information. This contradicts Facebook’s rules, not on purpose though. A Facebook user ID may be inadvertently shared by a user’s Internet browser or by an application.

What’s the moral of the story? Do your own research people before you download or attempt to download an application. Facebook stalker applications are only there for one thing, to phish for information by tugging at our curiosity about who’s cruising our page. Just assume that all of your Facebook friends are “stalkers” from time to time. Play it safe and don’t fall for the trap.

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