Social Media: Am I Safe?

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Social networking sites are a way for users to interact on the Internet. It is the act of interacting and networking with others in an online social environment through the use of a website. Social networking is a popular computing term and is a popular phenomenon in the demographic ranging from teenagers to people in their thirties. Many such sites have sprung up and provide a platform for people to form their communities, make friends online, and discuss common topics of interest to them. A few popular ones among these are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.

Based on my personal experience of using/using, if not all, but most of them, I think it’s important to share the same with other internet users, especially those who use social media. Care should be taken about what information you share on these profiles and what information should be kept secret. It is a fact that social media and other related actors provide us with the opportunity to stay informed about breaking news and other happenings, but at the same time, social media has become a place where we can be equally uninformed.

What is more alarming is that many people share the news updates without verifying them which later turn out to be fake. The extent of fake news available on social media is alarming and recent events have definitely cast doubt on many social media platforms. Given how many people rely on social media for information, the cause for concern is understandable. Furthermore, in many cases, as has been observed, it has been difficult to distinguish between fake news and facts due to secondary, tertiary and similar sources who were themselves recipients and had just transmitted information. without trying to verify them.

Here are some of those things you should be careful not to share with others on a social networking site:

Personal messages

According to net etiquette, one should not share personal information on a social networking site. In many of them, like Facebook, the shared information is displayed on the wall, visible to all. If it is a personal note, it may not be appreciated by many others.

Coordinate sharing

One of the main security threats would be to publish your details on the net. It would be an open invitation to intruders. If you go on vacation and also publish this information on the net, you indirectly invite burglars to visit your house in your absence.

What you think of your workplace and your employers

You should be careful not to disclose information related to your workplace as well as gossip or speak ill of your elders on a social networking site. It can harm your work and create bad relationships with people at work. Some organizations even fire employees and take the things discussed on these sites very seriously. For this question, websites such as Facebook are blocked and employees do not have access to those of their organizations.

Interconnected sites

People who use one social networking site are required to use one of the others as well. Many of us are part of Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time. In the same scenario, if you share information on Facebook, chances are that information is also accessible on LinkedIn. This applies even more so when two sites are linked to each other on one of your profiles. So what you post on one is also accessible on the other. Considering that you post conflicting information on these two sites, it may affect your work and your status as an employee.

Password

This is the worst information that can be shared on the net. Passwords and password recovery questions should be kept as secure as possible. For password recovery hints, don’t choose a very common question, the answer to which can be guessed by anyone. Once your password is taken by someone else, your account can be misused.

Social networking sites are meant for socializing and keeping in touch with your friends and creating and adding more to your existing circle and with these few criteria in mind it is all safe.

Don’t just use social media, learn to use it too wisely.

(The author has done a PhD from the University of Kashmir and can be sent to [email protected])

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