17 May 2012

Beware - Socialcam

Lately I’ve noticed that, according to Facebook, some of my friends are watching some very strange videos!  Do you know how the new Socialcam app works with Facebook?   Socialcam is a smartphone app that you can use to take and share videos on sites like Facebook and Google+.  If you click on a Socialcam video link on Facebook you are taken to a page where you accept the Socialcam licence when you click on ‘OK Watch Video’.  From then on, any Socialcam video you watch is automatically broadcast to your Facebook Timeline.  There are other video sharing apps around that share what you view on Facebook, but the problem is the type of videos on Socialcam -  they have not been screened or edited, and are often ‘Click-bait’ - videos with crazy titles and icons that don’t really indicate what you’re about to watch.  For example, ‘How to Steal 23 MacBook Pros’, or ‘Giant snake eats security guard’ – I couldn’t bring myself to watch that one!  Often they aren't personal videos someone has uploaded, but the most sensational videos off YouTube that have just been rebranded as being 'shared with Socialcam'.

I discovered Socialcam when one of my sons came home from a play with a friend and told me about a video they’d watched of a “really fat man shooting a gun” (he was more concerned that I’d be mad at him calling someone ‘fat’).  It turns out they were looking at the screen when the mum was on Facebook and they wanted to see what the funny video was – the title was ‘Try not to laugh’. 

Most of these videos are of questionable content, most not what you want your children seeing, and these images are definitely not what you want appearing on your Timeline.  Do you really want a potential employer looking at your Facebook page and seeing that you’ve been watching video of a man beating up his girlfriend?

So, to prevent your children accidentally watching something you don’t want them seeing, or to stop yourself the embarrassment of explaining why you were watching a topless woman in a car, stop sharing Socialcam.  Here’s what to do…

1.      Go to Facebook and on the left hand column under apps double-click Socialcam

2.      Once in the Socialcam app itself, in the upper right hand corner, choose Settings.

3.      In Settings, scroll down to Auto Sharing and unclick both the Facebook options.

4.      Where you’re asked Who can see this activity choose Only Me

5.      Click SAVE
If you want to keep sharing videos, Socialcam has today added a link where you can remove a video from your Timeline; and if you want to get rid of Socialcam completely there’s a link to uninstall it.

I’m not against sharing videos on Facebook, the problem is that everyone knows what you’ve been watching – it should be up to you who you choose to share with.

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