Facebook has more than 800 million users and the popular social network grabbed headlines recently, when rumours surrounding it relaxing its 13 years age limit began surfacing. Nevertheless, numerous teens have been attracted to the social site. Students belonging to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a new security app called The Social Privacy Protector (SPP). The app allows parents to adjust the profiles of their kids in one click, prevent criminals from garnering valuable personal information and keep teens safe from paedophiles. This app touts to bring in multiple levels of protection, but the most important component is its ability to review the user's friends list in seconds to identify those which have few or no mutual links and might be ‘fake’ profiles.
To protect kids...
The app is capable of analyzing each friend and it then provides a score to depict the "connectedness" to every friend. Those friends with the lowest scores are considered suspicious and the user will be asked if that friend should be restricted from his/her personal user information. It also restricts the person from using your personal information, but doesn’t defriend/block him or her.
"An important feature of our app is the ability for parents to better protect their kids' privacy with just one click instead of having to navigate the more complicated Facebook privacy settings," Michael Fire, a Ph.D. candidate in BGU's Department of Information Systems Engineering explains, said. Facebook encourages its users to make as many connections as possible, but he suggests that it is desirable to limit the number of users on your profile. The Social Privacy Protector not only protects users from malicious minds, it also notifies users about the applications installed on their profile which could hinder their privacy.
"Predators rely on people friending anyone, and with teens now allowed to have Facebook accounts, we believe that our solution can provide necessary protection for all users," Fire said further. The Social Privacy Protector is a free software available as a Facebook app for all browsers, and can also be accessed as an add-on for Firefox. It can be downloade from here.
Recently we have seen some studies revealing the negative impact of Facebook. The Salford Business School, University of Salford conducted a poll recently for the charity Anxiety UK. It found that more than half of the participants surveyed felt that the social sites had changed their behaviour. Out of the participants who felt so, about 50 percent said that their lives had been altered for the worse. Then there was another study had revealed the negative impact of social networks on young girls. The fad of social networks is believed to be changing the way young people speak, especially girls. Experts pointed out that Facebook and Twitter are changing the way girls speak, making them more aggressive. These social networks are said to promote terser sentences, which can make youngsters appear rude and disrespectful. One of the experts had pointed out that there is a fine line between being curt or aggressive and being straightforward.