A rant intended to stir shit or raise awareness depending on which side of the coin you’re on.
Edited: I have removed some parts of this text to make it more to the point. I will bring back the rest in different expanded articles.
I’m on Facebook. I love it! It lets me communicate with people I know and care about. Teens seems to think it’s a dating site. It sure seems like today’s teens select each other based on T&A/A&D (Tits and Ass / Abs and Dick.) I have been doing research on various Facebook apps to build my own. I resisted adding novelty and hookup-type applications until I was invited to install “Are You Interested?” (from SNAP Interactive). It is a badly built, ugly and annoying application. There are three ads per page so you know right there it is purely profit driven.
I wondered what would happen if I click ‘YES’ on someone in “Are You Interested?“. I picked the guy who was at a theme park with his daughter and the fireman. There were not that many pictures in my age range, most were greasy looking guys who gave me the creeps. I could click YES on all the pictures of men who look like they are dads (a desirable accomplishment) but they are probably not single. Again, waste of time. When the fireman friended me I noticed that he (who is in a relationship and just had a really cute baby) likes to add all the “Tell me I’m desirable, I absolutely must know now!” applications that are available on Facebook. I am itching to ask him why he needs the validation, he is already a cute guy in a fireman outfit, with a girlfriend and a really cute baby. In the list of awesome things worth having that you couldn’t possibly buy with money, those are lot of check marks! If I was his girlfriend I would wonder about his capacity to survive the first 6-12 months of being set aside for the needs of the new baby.
I noticed that guys interested in me, based on my profile picture of a toad, were all 18 years old and this is how I noticed, to my horror, that there is a search line for 13-17 year olds in “Are You Interested?” This is retarded! And not because of the aforementioned bad idea of choosing mates based on physical characteristics.
Here’s how Facebook works. You can join Facebook if you are in High School (13+ years). You can friend you classmates, buddies and family. They are the only ones who can see your profile. The dumb things you post about yourself after that are supposed to remain somewhat private until you piss someone off and they re-post your private texts and photos in public forums.
However “Are You Interested?” kinda violates that by publishing a picture of your “attention needing” self with your name and city.
Here’s a random teenager. I picked him because he is the only one I found who’s trail does not lead to an exact location within 5 minutes. Unfortunately, you can easily find where most other “Are You Interested?” users between the age of 13-17 are RIGHT NOW.
(Name has been changed, duh!)
His name is Jean-Something, he is 14 and lives in Montreal. Kinda looks like he is 10 years old but let’s keep digging.
Fortunately for us Jean-Something is not such a common name so let’s find him in Facebook search.
There he is. It’s easy, same picture!
Great, now we know his full name is Jean-Something Lastname. Fortunately for Jean-Something he is only is the Montreal network and not associated with a high school. But would it really be hard to find out where he lives by triangulating info about all his friends? (Actually if I triangulate his friends I get the distinct impression this profile might be a fake teen profile created by someone who wants to approach teens but I don’t have time to find out for sure. We can talk about this kind of fraud later. There are about a million users, mostly 13-17 year olds who use this application and most will have a high school and class year listed under their name in Facebook search.)
As a parent, I feel for those who do not know what their kids are doing online. Are they posting videos of themselves dancing in their underwear or flashing their boobs on You Tube? Are they desperately seeking attention from strangers on My Space? Are they advertising their need for approval on Facebook? I feel that doing so is misguided, it is asking for attention from the WRONG people. Not all online kooks teenagers encounter are sexual predators, they are also confidence cons, scammers and thieves. All these shady folks need is a bit of info about you to work their magic.
So, what do you think? I also wrote a follow-up on this.