Privacy in Social Media

In the age of growing social media, privacy has become a major focus point in social networking. When using these sites, it is important to be conscientious of the password you choose. Your passwords protect your identity and other personal information. When choosing a password, it is critical to make sure they cannot be easily obtained by a third party. Some things you should keep in mind when creating your password are:

-Don’t reuse passwords: this makes it easy for others to get all of the information you have in all of the different social sites you are connected to.
-Don’t use any word that can be found in the dictionary: this makes it much easier for bots and hackers to figure out how to guess your password.
-Don’t use number substitutions: ie) P455ww0rd please refrain from this. It just makes you look dumb.

-Do: use a long password. This is your best defense against people easily figuring it out.
-Do: use bullsh*t answers when making security questions. For example, when asked what your hometown is, give your dog’s name or something unrelated to a city that could be guessed by someone preforming a google search on you. Don’t be like Sarah Palin!
-Do: change passwords to linked accounts. You should have different passwords for every online account. This will minimize the ability of hackers to get into all of your accounts at the same time.

To compete with giant industries, many smaller social media websites will end up merging together. This causes a lot of single access sign ons. This is likely to continue as start up companies begin to emerge. However, as convenient as this may seem, it raises red flags for security and privacy. This tends to let websites share user information and display activity on both social media sites. For example, if you have Facebook and Twitter linked, your pins may show up in your Facebook news feed for all to see and your Facebook profile picture may end up as your Pinterest picture as well.

Another topic to consider when using social networking, is being aware of the things you post. For example, there is an app called FireMe! that allows bosses (and any bored individual) to browse a list of people that have complained about work or their bosses on Twitter. Another example is Ashley Payne, a teacher from the Georgia who went on vacation and posted about 10 pictures of herself drinking alcoholic beverages on Facebook. An anonymous parent complained about the photos and she was offered the option of voluntarily resigning or potentially facing disciplinary charges including losing her teaching license. Many companies are known to search you in Facebook before hiring you. As a general rule of thumb, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see.

One of the most important issues when dealing with privacy in social networks is being mindful of sexual predators and stalkers. In 2009, Myspace evicted 90,000 registered sexual offenders from its site. While Facebook has taken this into consideration and created an anonymous way to report offenders, it is important to know they’re still out there. Unfortunately, it’s not even just anonymous sex offenders that are worrisome. With the rise in popularity of social networking also comes the rise of online stalkers. Today we tend to “over-share” when providing personal information over the web. Networking sites like Foursquare encourage people to “check-in” to buildings and locations by using GPS services to specifically identify their location. Truly, it has never been easier for a stalker to… well, stalk you. If you must have a Foursquare account, be sure to check your privacy settings to ensure that only people you have approved as your friend can see where you have checked in. On top of that, only add people that you know to be your friend. It’s easy for a creepy stalker to download a photo of a model and then add you as a friend. It may be tempting to creep on Mr. Hottie, but think twice before accepting anyone you don’t know!

The issues with Social Media and Networking privacy are endless, and this only just touches the surface of the potential risks and issues that can arise if you’re not diligent about the information that you post online! Be smart, be careful, and be conscientious when putting your info into the World Wide Web!

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One thought on “Privacy in Social Media

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