Activity & Discussion: What Are You Exposing on Facebook?

Credits Lindsay Beck, Daniel O'Clunaigh, DJ Last Updated 2014-03

This activity is designed to help trainees come to better understand how much information they actively share on social networking services. An important outcome, and talking point for the Discussion, is a firmer grasp of the impact that certain kinds of sharing behavior may have on your privacy, and that of others.

ADIDS Element

Activity and Discussion

Parent Topic(s)

Social Media Safety Awareness

Duration

30-45 minutes

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Materials to Prepare

  • Pens, one for each participant
  • Printed quizzes (see below under Running the Activity)

Running the Activity

Step 1: Instructions and Quiz Preparation

Below are the questions for the quiz handout to participants for this exercise. Feel free to either copy/paste as is, or adapt these into a handout that is most convenient for you and your participants.

Each choice is worth an increasing value based on its order in the list:

  • #1 in each section is worth one point;
  • #2 is worth 2 points;
  • #3 is worth 3 points, etc.

Distribute the quizzes and have participants choose one answer to each question, and then add up their score (see Scoring section immediately following the quiz):

“What Are You Exposing on Facebook?” Quiz

Question I. How Often Do You Post on Facebook?

  1. None, I don’t have Facebook.
  2. Less than one a month.
  3. Once a week to everyday.
  4. Many times a day.

Question II. What Kind of Information Is Public to Everyone About You on Facebook?

  1. Pseudonym (not my real name).
  2. Real name, Date of birth, Home town, About me, Gender, Relationship.
  3. Current city, Family, Education, Work, Pages you like, Favourite Quotes.
  4. Email, Events, Political views, Religious Views, Phone number, Tagging photos of myself.

Question III. Who Do You Share Information with on Facebook?

  1. Specific groups of friends.
  2. Friends.
  3. Friends of friends.
  4. The wild internet world (e.g., public)

Question IV. What Kind of Information Do You Share & Post on Facebook?

  1. Generic status updates.
  2. Tagging friends with status updates, sharing pages that you like.
  3. Posting photos and videos, current location.
  4. Check-ins at places, status updates that reveal my location, status updates that reveal my political/religious views.

Question V. What do you use Facebook For in General?

  1. Sharing pictures of cute cats.
  2. Updating/communicating with close friends.
  3. Meeting with new people, finding a romantic relationship, marketing.
  4. Organising protests, documenting human rights violations.

Step 2: Scoring

As mentioned, for every question, each answer choice is worth an increasing value based on its order in the list: Answer #1 for each question is worth one point, #2 is worth 2 points, #3 is worth 3 points, etc.

Once everyone in the group has added up their score, you may read through the following score levels so that participants can check their own score against the rankings:

Score of 06 to 09: Your exposure is Low.

You don’t share too much information, either about yourself or those you are connected to.

Score of 10 to 13: You should consider your exposure.

Look at the highest number of your answers and think about how you might reduce it.

Score of 14 to 20: Your exposure is very high.

Probably you should ask yourself if everyone should know what you had for lunch.

Trainer’s Note

If participants choose more than one in a section, have them score the highest choice they selected.

Leading the Discussion

First, share the story below:

Arrest after Facebook unblock goes wrong

After a Friday-protest in a suburb of Kharbasha, the capital of Kharbashstan, the crowd’s chanting for freedom had been answered by a spray of bullets from the security forces. Alice and her friend had to run for their life. They escaped, but others were less lucky. Five people died and many more were wounded. Back home, Alice decided to express her anger against the president on Facebook and described what had happened that day.

The next morning, Alice woke up early to check her Facebook messages. But to her surprise, a shocking sentence appeared on her screen: “Your account has been disabled.” First she tried to log in again, thinking she might have mistyped her password. But after five login attempts, she realized that her account had really been disabled. What Alice didn’t know was that one or some of her “friends” —many of whom she did not know personally—had reported her Facebook page as preaching “hate speech.” Some people had taken the remark she posted as an insult to their religion and Facebook had taken their report seriously.

To unblock her account, Alice was asked to answer a series of questions. She was also asked to supply a copy of her passport, which she – like so many in Kharbashstan – did not have. For that reason, she sent them a copy of her sister’s passport from an Internet café where they had a scanner.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of Alice’s Facebook ordeal. That evening, she was arrested by the security services under the suspicion of undermining the state. During the interrogation, she was confronted with information related to her Facebook page, including the copy of her sister’s passport which she sent via her e-mail from the Internet café.

Alice was released five days later without charges or reason. She never regained access to her Facebook account and had to create a new one.

Then, discuss the following questions:

  • What could Alice have done differently?
  • What does Alice have control over?
  • What are the dangers?
  • Is it possible for Alice to protect herself?
  • How do they feel about what they share about themselves on Facebook?
  • Are they concerned about the information they share, or not concerned at all? Why?