According to Rochelle Peachey, founder of dating site ILoveYourAccent.com, companies can sell your Facebook profile. "I was approached by [one] to 'buy' my members," explains Peachey. "I refused, of course, but played along using a different email address to see what they had to say."
Peachey says the company offered her 1,000 profiles for $250, and 5,000 profiles for $1,250.
But, Peachey will never use fake profiles to grow her business. "We have around 10,000 members and are growing every day. They are all genuine - real people looking for a relationship," Peachey points out. "People will be amazed and afraid to know where their pics could be."
Human trafficking can be found on Facebook
"Facebook is increasingly being noted as a tool used in sexual exploitation," says activist Dillon Burroughs.
"Today, thousands of false Facebook profiles are established every week, which are merely links to outside websites featuring women and men for sale," says the article.
Uploaded photos harbor a ton of information
You and your friends upload photos all the time. There's no harm in that, you say? Think again. "One of the more dangerous aspects of Facebook is its capabilities related to embedded EXIF data within pictures on users' accounts," says Gregory Perry, CEO of GoVirtual Education. Add that to their new facial recognition engine that Facebook recently enabled, and you have a major privacy issue.
EXIF is a hidden pocket of metadata that includes tidbits about the type of camera used to take the photo, the settings for the imager, sometimes even exact GPS coordinates on where the photograph was taken, Perry explains. "Combine this with facial recognition and Facebook has more power than any intelligence agency out there... This gives Facebook (and whoever they provide data to) a very accurate and extremely comprehensive imagery intelligence capability."
Facebook can be used in organized extortion
Members of organized online extortion rackets have been known to seduce women, men and children on social networks like Facebook.
Extortionists convince users to engage in video calls and do things that they wouldn't normally do, says Michael Roberts, founder and CEO of Rexxfield.com, an information technology security company. Roberts says he was a victim of internet harassment and defamation, which led him to start his business.
"They can crawl Facebook downloading as many pics as possible, run them through Tineye or a similar program, and look for results that come from dating/swinger sites," adds Shane MacDougall, principal partner at Tactical Intelligence, a technical strategy company. If married people show up on those sites, this makes them vulnerable for blackmail.
"It is an epidemic and I often have victims contact me asking for help," says the forensic analyst and litigation support consultant.
When a user clicks, someone gets paid
"[Companies can] lure you into clicking on advertising where scammers get paid for every click," says Steve Weisman, lawyer and author of "The Truth About Avoiding Scams."
This happened after the death of Osama bin Laden, Weisman points out.
"Scams involving pictures of the body and videos of the killing were all over Facebook. In one of the scams, you think you are being directed to a video of bin Laden's killing, but instead you are directed to an online survey that you are instructed you must complete first," Weisman explains. "However, there are no videos, and by completing the survey you have just earned money for a scammer who gets paid for everyone who does the survey."