PleaseRobMe.com is an example of what could go wrong with social networking. A website, created by a Danish Web Developer, uses what people post on social networking sites such as Twitter and Four Square to reveal the location of empty homes. The sites original purpose was to expose the dangers of posting personal information on social networking sites.
The idea originated out of information posted from the social game called FourSquare, which is based on a persons physical location. Users automatically update the site on their whereabouts, which then automatically updates Twitter, Facebook ect. Unaware of how much information people were sharing, the site agregates information from twitter and four square and posts the information. “The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home,” said the creators on the PleaseRobMe Why page. The website took four days to create and is creating a buzz in the internet community.
Stressing that the purpose of the site is not to encourage crime, but to make social media users more aware of their personal security. Despite the publicity the site is receiving, FourSquare continues to thrive. Twitter removed their account saying that software they use is too similar to spamming software.
They recently have taken the website one step further offering it for purchase by a foundation, agency or company. “We at Forthehack have been thinking about how we want to continue pleaserobme.com. It has received a lot of attention and it’s time for a next step. We want to offer this website to a professional foundation, agency or company that focuses on raising awareness, helping people understand and provide answers to online privacy related issues.”
Depsite that Foursquare.com has a much larger International following than a U.S. following, the site still raises important security questions. Information posted on social networking sites is not secure and can not only pose a cyber threat, but a physical threat as well. As social media users, we need to understand that the risk is not limited to our identities and bank accounts, but also to our homes, friends and family.