That’s right…the Facebook hoax is back! It’s these hoaxes that keeps a HIPAA security consultant up at night. Sure, Facebook is harmless…until the hoaxes start to show up.

Here is the latest hoax

“Now it’s official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: $5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to ‘private.’ If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste.”

I’ve seen this on my timeline 3 times already. Sure, this one could be benign, but what about the ones that could really cause damage? This one has some staying power, and that concerns me. Say what you will, but this little social media deception seems to push all the right buttons of those who are concerned about privacy and fear Big Brother’s prying eyes.

This is at least its third go-round.

Your privacy on Facebook has been questioned since the day Facebook came out. This is the exact reason I tell practice managers to monitor a users Facebook usage at work. I prefer they didn’t do it at all, but I understand that practice managers trust their staff feel that it is fine for them to do what they want during lunchtime.

Is being on Facebook a HIPAA violation?

I can’t say it is a violation, but i would definitely call it a risk. Not only are hackers trying to get at your page, you need to be careful what you post. A innocuous post could end up being a huge violation. Remember…no pictures, no references to patients, and nothing about your practice that alludes to staff or patients.

If you want to have a Facebook page, keep it personal. Keep it out of the office.