Monday, August 8, 2011

How to prevent people from interacting with posts that you have a privacy setting of everyone on after you block them? (facebook)


   You do that simply by placing their Facebook account number followed by in the box to enter their email address on your blocked list.  You can do so temporarily or permanently, as you see fit.  That's how hackers manage to create posts on your Wall that you can neither comment on nor seem to be able to remove from your Wall.  The only way to remove such posts from your Wall by the way is to block the sender.  When you block the sender, you will then be able to remove such a post from your Wall even if the sender had the chutzpah to prevent you from interacting with his or her post on your own Wall.
   In the United States, every business is required by law to keep records of every business transactions for a period of seven years, regardless of the form of the business entity. Facebook is a corporation. It is subject to the same regulations that every other business is subject to. If Facebook is subpoenaed to produce specific records to court, Facebook is required by law to present such records. Thus, Facebook is required by law to keep a record of every post that you have ever made for a period of at least seven years. Having owned several business over the years, I'm keenly aware of the aforementioned requirements. Even if you delete a specific post immediately after posting it, Facebook will still have a record of it somewhere in its servers for at least seven years.  That doesn't mean that they will necessarily retrieve it for you, of course.  Most people who harass others on Facebook are not aware that their stuff is still on Facebook's servers even after they delete them.  Most people are also not aware that anyone can start a lawsuit against Facebook and include a John Doe as a third-party defendant in order to be able to subpoena certain information from Facebook about the John Doe party who harasses another on Facebook or who commits some other illlegal activities.  If someone on Facebook is causing you emotional distress, you are not without legal recourse, and you should know that.
   Furthermore, every post you publish with a privacy setting of everyone is available to everyone on the Internet for viewing and copying. Even if you block someone on Facebook, that person can still access any post you publish with a privacy setting of everyone if you don't change the privacy setting to something else later on. If you don't change the privacy setting on the post to exclude a person you block, that person can view such a post, copy it, and use that post in a detrimental way against you. Thus, you must be very careful not to give your enemies ammunition against you. For they can exploit every loophole on Facebook or your ignorance of Facebook to get back at you.  If you want to verify the fact that everyone on the Internet may be able to view posts that you publish with a privacy setting of everyone, navigate to and enter the following in the Google Search Box:  site:, and you will see that there are currently 40 million notes with privacy settings of everyone on Facebook.  By clicking on any such notes, anyone can read any of those notes.  And worst of all, anyone who is not on your blocked list can set an RSS feed so that all of your public notes can be sent to that person automatically.  What this means is that your enemy can easily set up a fake account and keep on receiving every note you publish with a privacy setting of everyone.  I may not mind if my enemy has access to a note of mine with a privacy setting of everyone, but I certainly don't want my enemy to be able to interact with my note by being able to post some ludicrous claim on my note.  And that's what this note is about:  taking the proper step to prevent that.
   I learned the above lesson the hard way. Someone invited me to a group, but the group was just an avenue to set up an elaborate scam. When I discovered that the group's administrators were just setting up a scam, I immediately removed myself from the group and blocked them.  I set the block the regular way by just entering the name on that account on my block list.  When the person found out that I had removed her from my friend list and blocked her, she simply changed her name to avoid my block.  I didn't even realize that she had done that after the fact.  It's when I searched for the person's name through the message service that I discovered that she had changed the name on her account to a name that I no longer recognized.  And in doing so, she had regained the ability to comment on all my posts with a privacy setting of everyone on them.  She used that trick to be able to mark every single one of my posts that were in her RSS feed as abusive.  She did that of course to keep me from spilling the beans on what she was up to.  As a result, I was not able to use those links for several days until Facebook had a chance to investigate the matter. What they did did not disrupt my work for long, but it was an inconvenience nonetheless.  Had I placed a block on the person's account based on the underlying Facebook id, that person would not have been able to do that to me.  To such people, it's all about proving to themselves how smart they are.  And by showing you that they were able to circumvent your block, they think that they prove to themselves that they are smarter.  That woman who pulled the scam I mentioned above essentially wanted to show me that she was smarter than I, and she wanted of course to be able to continue to pull her scam without being afraid of my reprisal.
   The person in question that I am referring above was not even that knowledgeable about Facebook, but had she been, she could have done even more damage. The above experience caused me to reconsider a lot of things about the business that I am in the process of setting up, for I have no intention of investing so much time developing my business to have it destroyed by a few hackers who want to exercise revenge on me for whatever reasons.  So, how do I prevent the user I'm referring to from being able to interact with this note, which I'm setting with a privacy setting of everyone?  Well, I would need to locate the person's Facebook id number and use it to place that person on my block list.  If I don't do that, that person could technically be able to post on this note even though she is no longer on my friend list.  Fortunately for me, Facebook ended up deactivating her account for repeatedly violating their Statement of Right and Responsibilities.
   You cannot totally prevent your enemies from being able to get back at you on Facebook, but you can make it tougher for them to do so if you know how to protect yourself on Facebook.  By that, I mean (1) you must master the use of your privacy settings; (2) you must master the use of your friend's list; and (3) you must master the block feature so that you can block them appropriately.  Even if you block a person or persons, that unfortunately does not mean that such people cannot take evasive measures against the block(s) you placed against them.  Some hackers routinely go around a block placed on them by simply changing the name on their account.  Hackers know that for your block to be effective against them, it must match the name on their account exactly when you use only their name to block them.  By simply changing their middle name to a middle initial, for example, the block against their account is immediately ineffective.  In fact, any change in their name makes the block that you have against them ineffective.  Because Facebook is much more strict with changing a customized name, it's always best to place a block based on multiple factors, including the name on the account, the customized name, a person's various email addresses if you know them, and now their Facebook id as well.  To place a block based on a person's customized username, find the customized name by right clicking on the person's profile link and note the string of characters immediately after ""  Once you know a person's customized username, you can block them by entering their customized username immediately followed by in your blocked list.  You can do the same for the Facebook id number as well:  find it, and then enter the Facebook id number followed by to implement a block based on the Facebook id. 
   You must also remember that unethical people use fake accounts and fake names to surreptitiously get back on your friend's list so that they can continue to harass you or use information on your site to harm you in any way they can.  So, you must be careful about people you let onto your friend list  Lastly, since Facebook has implemented so many security features in the past few months, hackers are now using the poke feature extensively to make your profile visible to them even if they are not on your friend list.  The minute that you respond to a poke, a person can write on your Wall or send you private messages to your inbox even if that person is not on your friend list.  If they are able to view your friend list, getting onto your friend list is like swiping candies from a toddler.  Why?  Because they simply create a fake account, use one of your friend's name, place your friend's picture on their fake account, and then poke you.  Since you think it's your friend who is poking you, you poke back.  And when you poke back, that's when they can easily post anything they want on your Wall without even being on your friend list.  Thus, always make sure to check if a person is on your friend list before acknowledging a poke.  You do that of course by clicking on Account > Edit Friends and search for the name of the person to ascertain that the person is on your friend list.  But that alone is not enough.  You must verify the poker's underlying Facebook id in order to match it with that of your true friend.  If you don't do this, there's no way to prevent that from happening to you unless you simply never respond to pokes.  That's why I believe it's absolutely necessary to keep a separate copy of your contacts on Facebook outside of Facebook.  And each contact must be listed right next to the person's true Facebook id so that when Facebook advises you that you've been poked, you can quickly check the poker's id with your contact's true id to make sure that the person who's poking is the real person who is on your friend list. 
   Knowing that Facebook operates in a sneaky way at times, such as in the way you can prevent posts that you are tagged in from being visible to the people on your friend list, I decided to conduct a test to see if you can use a person's Facebook id to block people that you want to block.  A while ago, I made the suggestion to Facebook to add a box in the blocked list so that people can block others by their underlying Facebook id, which would prevent the game playing that I talked about above.  But, in truth, I don't think Facebook is willing to do that because for some reason that is not transparent, they don't want to add the box even though that would significantly reduce bullying and other forms of harassment on Facebook.
   When I conducted my test, I discovered that you can now use a Facebook id in conjunction with the blocked list as follows.  First, someone's email address on Facebook is either their customized name followed by or their facebook id number followed by if the person doesn't have a customized username.  When you enter a person's id number appended with in the blocked list, this does not block the person, but it does something now that people didn't use to be able to do before; i.e., it prevents that account from being able to comment on your posts even if they were published with a privacy setting of everyone.  In other words, that account can no longer mark your posts as abusive anymore to get back at you.  So, Facebook used my suggestion to incorporate a change in their system.  They did not go for adding another box to enter a person's Facebook id to effectuate a block as I suggested, but they did agree with me that a person should not be able to mark my stuff as abusive simply because I decided to block them.  I must agree that this change in strategy is pretty clever, but what I don't like is that there's no way that the average user is ever going to catch such a subtle change.  Well, I've done my best to point out here, that if you don't want someone to play that trick on you, you can now add their Facebook id followed by in your blocked list, where you are allowed to enter the person's email address to block the person's account from being able to interact with the posts that you have with a privacy setting of everyone.  Whether you choose to note this new change is up to you, but I strongly recommend that you take a note of it, especially if you're an activist or a serious blogger on Facebook.

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