Over at Movement.org, Susannah Vila has a timely new post about the need for activists using Facebook to take the necessary precautions – like mastering the site’s always evolving privacy settings – to protect themselves and their organizing online. She gives a few examples of the what can happen if you’re not careful:
…leaders of the Pink Chaddi Campaign in India used Facebook as a tool to tell people about thier movement and organize an offline campaign for women in India to send in pink “chaddis” or underware as a form of protest against conservative groups. While Facebook served as an important tool for activism, it soon became a liability when their page was hacked. Because of the hateful speech that the hackers wrote on the page, Facebook mistakenly suspended the account of Nisha Susan, the groups legitimate creator. Luckily, Susan was able to quickly get her account reactivated, but this just highlights the importance of protecting your privacy settings on Facebook – especially when you’re posting controversial content.
Most recently, there have been reports of authorities in Syria arresting activists and forcing them to hand over their login information. The same occurred in Iran, and the hacking of Tunisian authorities during the uprising there was well documented.
Vila then points to a very thorough guide to help activists organize more safely on Facebook.
And there is an interesting exchange on Tangled Web about whether Facebook should allow the use of pseudonyms, and how helpful that would be for folks operating in more repressive environments.