A female call center agent is robbed and knifed to death by a “friend,” whom she had just met through Facebook. This follows another Facebook crime that happened just this week. The incident involved ABS-CBN director Ricky Rivero who luckily escaped death when he was stabbed several times by a male friend whom he had supposedly recently met though the social networking site. View the news report video here.
These situations got me thinking about how it is now easy to have lots of friends through the internet via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and through text messaging. On the other hand, the same situations also highlight how some people must feel so lonely that they forget about common sense and invite people whom they have just met through text or online inside their home. Tragically, sometimes one’s own life is the cost of gaining a new Facebook friend or text mate.
People, be honest here. Do you approve every friend request that you get even if you don’t have any idea who that person is? Just because someone requesting to be your friend is a friend of a Facebook friend, do you automatically approve the request even if you don’t know the requester? Do you reply to text messages asking for you to be text mates? If you answered yes to any of the questions, you may find yourself in big trouble soon.
How do you protect yourself against these Facebook crimes? Be careful what information you post online. You can use Facebook’s privacy controls to share some information to certain people only. Don’t be in a hurry to take a new online friendship offline. Wait a while, like, hmmm… a year maybe? When meeting online friends face to face for the first time, take someone else with you. And go to a public place. Or why don’t you hang out instead with family and friends whom you’ve known for some time? Reach out and take a chance with family and old friends. Get creative and find ways to have fun times together.
I think social networking is great to meet new friends, but you also get exposed to new dangers. So be safe. And stay safe.