The Top 3 Dangers of Using Facebook in Your Business

Last Updated Dec 8, 2009 11:32 PM EST

If, like Steven Colbert, you like to wait until the market has spoken, then even you can't dismiss the value of Facebook anymore -- Facebook has passed 350 million users, which is roughly the entire population of the US.

With such a huge user base, social networking tools like Facebook can clearly be leveraged for business, but if you're not careful, therein lie some dangers as well.


MakeUseOf recently wrote about four risks when using Facebook, and it seemed to me that these were applicable to business users as well. Here is my take on that list, adapted for folks trying to use Facebook for business:

Be aware of your friends. This is especially important if you mix personal friends and business contacts in your Facebook account: Don't write anything in Facebook that is embarrassing or potentially damaging to your professional reputation. Sure thing, you might say, that's easy. But there's more to it than that. You can't control what your friends post about you, so you need to be vigilant in ensuring that your college buddies don't write offensive comments on your wall or tag you in a compromising photo. Indeed, it is safest not to mix business and pleasure on Facebook at all.

Protect your privacy. Facebook is like a board game in which every Community Chest card is an opportunity to give away private information. You should be aware that most Facebook apps and games assert access to our profile, photos, and friends. A malicious app could compile enough information to steal your identity or masquerade as your business online. Be careful about what apps you give access to. You can control access by visiting Settings and clicking Application Settings. Then, on the Show dropdown, choose Authorized.

Manage your time. Facebook is addictive, whether you're using it for personal or business. In fact, I know two people who recently complained to me that their Facebook time -- originally intended to augment their business connections -- had taken over their day and they needed to cut back just to make room for essential business tasks.

And don't even get me started on Farmville.

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