Social networking software

The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make on Facebook

6. Being duped by malware. These are typically spread via outrageously titled wall posts like "Justin Bieber just got erection in public" or "Distracting beach babes." Curiosity gets the better of you and you click on the link. Instead of a video of Justin's engorged manhood or bouncing bikini Betties, you get a bad case of Koobface or some other socially borne malware. Worse, that post now becomes part of your wall, tempting your friends to click. If it's too outrageous or salacious to be believed, assume it's malware and move on.

7. Logging in from a free public WiFi hotspot. First, there's the question whether that "Free Public WiFi" network really is a free hotspot generously provided for your use by some benevolent business establishment, or in reality an "evil twin" honeypot that's out to capture your information. And even if the hotspot is legit, because Facebook uses an insecure sign on protocol, your user name and password could be stolen by anyone sniffing the WiFi network (or by using Firesheep, a program designed to specifically target log-in cookies for popular social networks). Use the Electronic Frontier Foundation's free HTTPS Everywhere plug in for Firefox to force sites to use encrypted connections.

8. Friending people because their profile pictures are hot. I have never done this. I swear. All those bikini models in my friends list are just there because I'm deeply interested in South Florida culture. What's the downside? Best case: You get inundated with the most banal updates and/or spammy self promotion you can imagine. Worst case: They turn out to be bait for some scammer trying to socially engineer information out of you.

9. Clicking ads inside Facebook Platform games. Because you really don't know what information those Facegames are sharing with advertisers, despite what they may claim.

10. Accepting Facebook's default privacy settings. You can make your public profile almost negligible, thanks to Facebook's enhanced privacy settings. But Facebook wants and needs you to share your data with the world for its ad model to work, so its default settings are still pretty generous with your information. Take my advice: Go as private as you can and let the others take the heat.

ITworld TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan has broken at least half these rules at one point or another (and there's still plenty of time for the other half). Catch his brand of juvenile snark at eSarcasm (Geek Humor Gone Wild) or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech .

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