Social media is a digital tool that allows users to quickly create content and share it with the public. Social media includes many websites and apps.
Users often access social media services via web-based applications on desktops and laptops or download services that provide social media functionality to their mobile devices. One can register on any social network with internet access. They can use this account to share any content they choose and the content they share reaches anyone who visits their page or profile.
A common feature of social media are “feeds” that allow users to scroll through content. Social media companies use algorithms based on a user’s profile data to determine what content is displayed and the order in which it is displayed. The feed contains content from “tracked” users, as well as from companies that pay to advertise their content.
Sharing information on social media
Information you share on social media which includes your profile, your status, your location, and shared content, reveals information about you, including relevant information that you may not even know about. By sharing this information online, you can provide enough information for advertisers to track you or for hackers to use your identity online. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the information you provide and the choices you can make to protect your privacy.
What happens to the information you share?
If the information you publish on social online social networks is publicly available, anyone can view it. Use privacy settings if you want to restrict who can see your information.
Even if you use privacy settings, you will not have complete control over who sees or uses the personal information you share. For example, your friends may republish your information to a wider audience than you do.
Also, the information you share online can be recorded permanently. Even when you deactivate your account, your information may remain in the saved or older version of the website or in your comments on other people’s pages.
How your social media information can be used and shared?
Information available to public:
- Some information may be publicly visible by default. In some cases, users will be able to change their privacy settings to make the information “private” so that only authorized users can view it. Other information must be public. There is no way to restrict access to users (often this information includes your account name).
- Approved contacts like people on your “friends list” or people who “follow” you can copy and post information, including photos or personal information, bypassing possible privacy settings without user consent.
- Third-party applications that have been granted access can view information that the user or the user’s contacts publish privately.
- The social network itself does not necessarily guarantee the security of the information uploaded to the profile, even if these messages are set as sensitive information.
Advertising: Advertisers are very interested in information that can be collected by tracking your online activity. These may include tracking which websites the user has visited, storing information associated with specific websites (such as shopping cart items) and Analysis of data collected for marketing purposes.
Third-party application: Is a program that interacts with a social network without joining it. You may inadvertently grant access to an application to a profile without knowing the permissions limit. Here are some facts to keep in mind when considering third party use:
- They may gain access more information that is unnecessary to perform their functions.
- It may contain malware designed to attack the user.
- They may not be guaranteed to be secured.
Employment: Potential employers can generally use whatever information they can gather about an applicant to make a hiring decision. Although there are legal risks, including possible violations of the anti-discrimination law, employers are increasingly turning to social media to inform their decisions. It is important to know what information non-contacts can see and to consider what conclusions can be drawn from it.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets limits on what information employers can get from background checks and how they can use that information.
- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued several rulings and recommendations involving questions about employer social media policies which include:
- Employer policies should not be broad enough to prohibit activities protected by federal labor laws, such as discussing wages or working conditions among employees.
- Employee comments on social media are generally unsafe if there are complaints that are not made regarding employee group activities.
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Tips for securing social networking accounts
Information on social networks can be used for many purposes other than those intended by users. Every time you choose to socialize, you take some risks. However, these handy tips can help you reduce the risks of social networking.
While registering an account:
- Use strong passwords that are different are different from the passwords you use to access other accounts.
- Provide minimum amount of personal information, or that you feel comfortable providing.
- Create a new email address to use only with social media.
Keeping Personal Information Secret: Be careful how much personal information you post on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it is for a hacker or other person to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes such as stalking.
Keep security software running: Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best protection against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
Be honest if you feel uncomfortable: If a friend posts something that you think is offensive or inappropriate, please let them know. Similarly, keep your mind open even if your friends approach you, as something you post will be offensive. People have different tolerances for what the world knows about them and respect their differences.
If in doubt, discard it: E-mails, tweets, posts, and online advertising links are the way cybercriminals try to steal personal information. Even if you know the source, delete any suspicious items.
Be careful connecting to strangers: On receiving any connection request from a stranger, the safest thing to do is to reject the request. If you choose to accept this request, use your privacy settings to restrict access to your information by others, and to keep personal information on your account, such as your current location, as well as personal information.
Log off: From social media sites when you do not use it anymore.
Update your application: If possible, access social networking accounts using the latest versions of the software.