Social media security and privacy

Since the progression in the digital world and huge advance of web 2.0, social media has been thriving for the last 20 years. As much as this brings about many positives in society, there are many users under grave danger. Privacy and security are two large factors which ultimately have a big impact on social media and the digital world.

With the wide reach that social media has had and the amount of users that have multiplied over the years, consequently everyone is now at risk. There are many dangers such as – being under the influence of identity theft or simply being hacked. All of these things can easily happen if one’s privacy and security are not monitored properly.  An article from CNBC, reiterates this theme of checking your social media security, to ensure you are properly protected. The issue is equally monitoring all of your networks which lets face it, is pretty hard to do with the sheer amount of them all.

For instance the network known as ‘Linked in’ is a platform that was initially introduced as a replacement for the CV – an online version for people to advertise themselves. In other words it encourages the user to give as much content as possible to seek potential employment from various companies in the network. This therefore contradicts the idea of remaining ‘private’ because you must give information on Linked In to give employers more information of your education and other personal background statistics. This means that it totally depends on the context of your application. Settle with your paper based CV if you do not feel comfortable documenting your personal information via applications such as Linked In.

Controlling your security and privacy

When registering for a new account on a social media, it is vital to visit the settings as soon as you can. For example on Facebook, you are able to tick off specific boxes such as ‘who can see my stuff’ here you can select whether your posts are published to the ‘public’ or if you only want your friend to be able to view them. Otherwise everybody can see your content without being friends with you.  So as you go through the various pages you can filter out where you want your content to go and how it will be received.

Accounts such as Twitter and Instagram, give you the control to simply make your account private. This way, users must send you a request in order to view your content, you must confirm or reject the request depending on who it is from.

One crucial step is ensuring you change your passwords for different networks and making sure that it has a variety of: upper case & lower case letters,numbers,symbols and other punctuation. An example of this would be: Public_Relations*21!/?. This helps secure your account and makes it a lot more difficult for hackers to access your account and retrieve personal information that you do not want to be shared.

Privacy invasion in the media

One of the most famous examples of this is from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. He unveiled the mobile phone hacking scandal. This involved the NSA (national security agency) hacking millions of people’s mobile phones without any prior permission. Snowden himself worked within the NSA and decided that the world must have a right to know that the government is accepting such a thing. He therefore broke the news to Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald.

This was not the first time that mobile phones were hacked by big organisations. Rupert Murdoch’s empire once consisted of a newspaper known as ‘News Of The World’ They were eventually shut down by Murdoch as the newspaper had been found guilty of hacking the phone of the missing girl Milly Dowler after she had disappeared. This was of course  illegal because it is against the law to hack some one’s mobile phone even though it may have led to the conviction of Milly’s murderer Levi Bellfield.

A more recent example comes from media giant Yahoo, who hacked thousands of Yahoo mail accounts – also linking to the NSA. This was one of the biggest data breaches in history and had reports of also affecting Broadband customers connected to Yahoo. This has had huge a impact on Yahoo and their future prospects.

This shows the overall importance of privacy and security. As a user of the internet you do not want your information to get into the wrong hands. Make sure you are safe and that you remain to stay safe over the coming years. Having control of your social media should be the user’s priority when setting up a new account.

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