Facebook Groups have become an important part of all our lives. While most are used for cosy stuff like families, friends, students and stuff but some are used for some pretty serious stuff like virtual activism, journalism and even by groups which defend social media like Facebook by exposing and reporting Digital Harassers. Facebook groups are also used by activists trying to track down pedophiles and creators of Child Pornography.
And if such is the case, Group Admins have an immense responsibility. It is their job to maintain a safe and secure environment for it’s members. A single person can invade the group and potentially wreak havoc by leaking the identities of all group members.
For people hunting down cyber criminals and harassers, this is a total disaster. They literally spend years creating credible fake profiles which can be used to trap down their targets. But if the group gets hijacked, within seconds all their efforts are lost. Besides that the hijackers can also figure standard operational techniques, tricks, everything thus giving them an edge.
I have studied various ways of hijacking Facebook groups and so I am offering a few simple guidelines from preventing hijacking of your groups.
1] First decide whether you are going to run the group alone or not. If you only need someone to monitor content then appointing someone as a moderator is enough. If you have to appoint another admin then select someone you can really really trust. It is advised to go along as a single admin but with a few tricks given at the end.
2] Do Not allow members to add members.
3] This one is among the most IMPORTANT: If you get a message from any person, may it be a member of the group or not and it contains a link, do not open it. Even if it’s a link to a perfectly benign looking thing, don’t open it. COPY it, open a browser in which you are not signed in, go to it’s incognito window (As a further protection.) PASTE it in the URL Bar then hit enter.
Reason: One way of hijacking a group involves creating a link containing the group ID, the hijacker’s Facebook ID and a short piece of code. Whenever an admin of the group, while logged in clicks on the link it makes the hijacker an admin. Opening it in another browser avoids the risk.
Tip: I usually download a new browser every time someone I don’t know sends me a link. Simple browsers are hardly of a few MBs.
4] Never Keep Only One Admin!: If a group has only one admin and if he/she gets compromised, the group is lost. But you might think that this will force you to trust someone else. Nope, it’s not necessary. Read on…
The Full Proof Plan: Once you form a group, create another fake Facebook profile. Add it to the group and make it an admin. In fact, make a few such profiles and make them admins. That way even if your main account is hacked you still have back-ups that you control. Since this involves only you there is no risk of trusting someone else. This is the best thing to do even if you are the sole admin or not.
5] Secure your account!
It may happen that you secure the group with extreme security but failed to secure your own account leading to your group getting hijacked.
Here’s my article on How to avoid getting Hacked on Facebook.
Hopefully all this will help you secure your Group and maintain the safe haven that it is.
If you are an admin of such a group, you are doing really awesome work. Hats off to you!
Author: Rohan Dandavate
Public Key: [http://bluesphereobserver.com/rohan-dandavate/]