Open Wide!

We’re always told “not to look a gift horse in the mouth,” meaning that you shouldn’t inspect every detail of something that a person gives you.

This maxim works well in the real world and makes you look appreciative of the things that you receive. In the world of Facebook, though, you’d better get ready to say “open wide!”

I recently read a report about blue gift box that causes a virus. It looks like a legitimate gift sent to you from a Facebook buddy, but its a nefarious little deal that will install itself on your computer and send a similar request to all your Fb friends.

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. I’ve been on Facebook for years. These things come and go. Last week it was the spring eggs; this week it’s the light blue box; next week it’ll be the purple bunny or something.

Regardless of what the gift is, you should recognize that accepting anything on Facebook puts you in jeopardy. I’m not saying to decline gifts from all of your friends, but think seriously about which ones you really believe and which seem a little questionable.

For instance, if you have a friend on Facebook that you don’t know very well in real life and you hardly ever have any communication with, then you should wonder why that person just sent you a gift.

If you feel that the gift is even remotely risky, then there’s no harm in emailing the sender to find out whether he or she did it on purpose. That way you will at least know that the gift isn’t part of a larger virus scam that’s replicating itself over and over again.

We all need to think about developing safety skills for Facebook. It’s more than just “don’t share personal information with strangers” and “don’t be the jackass who posts bad comments about the boss.” We need to start thinking about ways that we can protect our computers as much as our reputations.

Eventually, I think that we’ll form a sense of computer use “morals.” If I get too many spams from your account, then I’m going to start thinking about you in the same way that I think of people who will sleep with absolutely anybody. I’ll kind of feel grossed out when I see your picture, wonder what you’re spreading around, and will head out of the party as soon as I even suspect that you’re coming on to me.

Eventually, we’re all going to develop these virus-resistant morals that will tell us who to play with and who to avoid. In the meantime, just be as careful as you can.

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~ by facebookhoaxes on April 9, 2010.

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