Facebook has published a free 20 page guide aimed at teens, their parents and teachers that explains best practices for protecting their safety and privacy on the site.
Titled "A Guide to Facebook Security," the pamphlet is available on the site and was co-written by security experts Linda McCarthy and Keith Watson, and editor and teacher Denise Weldon-Siviy. McCarthy has more than 20 years of experience in IT security and worked as Senior Director of Internet safety at Symantec, while Watson is an IT researcher at Purdue University.
The guide goes into topics like securing access to Facebook accounts through proper password selection and use, avoiding falling prey to phishing and other scams, taking advantage of the site's advanced security features like HTTPS encryption, one-time passwords and login notifications, recognising impostors and recovering a hacked account.
"This guide is all about empowering you to Own Your Space, to understand what Facebook is doing to make the site safe and secure and to take the actions that are needed in this new digital world to protect yourself and your account," the authors wrote.
Privacy and security have been a concern for years for users of social networking sites, which are particularly attractive to scammers because of the amount of personal information that people post on their profiles.
As the world's most popular social networking site, the issue is a critical one for Facebook, whose continued success depends in part on providing a safe experience for users, especially minors, who sometimes are victimised by predators they meet online.
Experts stress that people need to become fully acquainted with the privacy protection features offered by the social media sites they use, as well as be informed and savvy about security practices and tips.
Otherwise, they may end up exposing their posts, photos, videos and other content to more people than they intend to, or become a victim of a scam in which their social networking account becomes compromised, leading potentially to ID theft and financial fraud.