Nowadays, almost everyone uses Social Media. We share photos, video’s, stories and even locations. Everyone in your network knows exactly where you work, what you do there and who you are with. In the last few years our online habits are changing rapidly, from a closed and private behavior towards an open and sharing culture.
While this brings us lots of good and comfort, it seems we are still very naive about possible dangers.
With a few clicks you can make your Social Media profiles private. Still, there is more to find about you on the web than you might think. Someone with bad intentions can easily do bad things. Yes, even to you. You are not completely aware of the information you share on the internet.
In this article I will cover some of the most important dangers of social media. There are a lot more dangers than I can talk about, but I’ve picked some that seem most important to me.
1. Control over your user data.
Social media platforms live by your user data. Facebook uses your and your friends data and creates a market from it. Any social media web company that has advertisement in its business arsenal, will use the data provided. Your interactions, your locations and your friends are used to create revenues.
True, your privacy settings protect you from other users. But who will protect you from company’s like Facebook?
2. Identity theft
This is an underestimated topic. Stealing another persons identity is quite easy. Like I said before, you are not aware of all the information you share on the web. Data storing companies like Google and Facebook never forget. You can find anything, from names to birthdays, from high schools to work history and endless more bits of information on basicly anyone. People that know where to look can find e-mail adresses and even credit card information. These can be used to access bank accounts and get even more identity information. Another way of stealing information are the typical scam websites. People provide their usernames and passwords to website that promise nice things or service, only to see their account stolen.
Stealing person’s identities is no rocket sience.
3. The person behind an online profile.
With social media, you can befriend thousands of people on the web. In a lot of cases we don’t really know who a “friend” is. The business models of most social network platforms are focussed on ‘The Network’ rather than on individual users. Meaning befriending people is encouraged and made simple. Quantity over quality. When befriending someone it seems to be less important to actually know them. In the end, your network will contain a lot of peolpe (‘friends) you do not personally know, and thus cannot really trust.
4. Your information can and will be used against you
We have no control over the data stored on the web. The time you posted party pictures on the web during your college time. The blogs you wrote on religion or sexual preference. Or a facebook friend from high school that turned out to be a criminal. All this data can be found on the internet if not treated right. People can find it, companies can find it. And they can use it against you. You just updated your Facebook, telling people your off to hawai for the weekend. People can read this, track your adress, and empty your house. You applied for a job at a company. The recruiter will look you up. He finds things he does not like, you missed a chance.
5. Everything can being traced back to you.
A big difference between the online- and the real world, is the fact that you can be traced very easily. We are not aware of just how many information we give away that can be related to us. Everything you do, everything you write, it gets collected by big companies as Google and Facebook and will be directly related to us as a person. This information can be used for efficient commercial purpose. But it can also be used to do harm.
Down and upsides
Social Media is not necessarily bad. It can be used to promote yourself in ways, wich can turn out positive for your job interview. You get in touch with your friends more often. And its a great way to stay up to date on an endless list of topics. The downside is these businesses are not just here for your pleasure. They make money. Resulting in sharing and befriending being more important then privacy and security. Date is becoming a currency.