Byte Me Article 358 – Personal Data

24th March 2018

Know the Social Media Traps

Last week we looked at how best to keep log on information and passwords for computer related sites and services.  Today we will look at the security surrounding your personal data on social media sites that you use.  Social media sites comprise the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many others.

Many readers here will have a login to Facebook for instance to keep in contact with friends or relatives and many of your children will also have a login to snapchat to keep in contact with the friends that they see every day at school or work.  Some of us end up spending large amounts of time constantly replying to posts and putting a large percentage of our private lives online.

For many this is a rewarding hobby and for others it could be termed as an addiction.  But as with any technology there can be some downsides that need to be remembered.  Posting comments on others’ feelings, views, opinions and political or religious persuasions can lead to mixed messages and sometime hurt or alienation.

As with the sometimes ambiguity of text or voice messages, posts or replies to posts on social media are often taken the wrong way and have resulted in the parting of many friends or alliances that would have otherwise stayed intact.  Conversely these social media sites often build new friends or alliances.

The other downside can be simply the amount of personal information that gets posted about ourselves or our family.  It is often the case that not all of the people that get access to this information are people that are known to us.  As an example, Facebook are in the news lately for an event that took place several years ago.

One of the apps that had ‘apparently legitimate’ access to millions of Facebook users’ data ended up with that data in the hands of a third party for political gain.  If you are more interested then just Google Cambridge Analytica to read further on the topic.  The point here being that when we post personal information about ourselves on a social media site, we don’t know where that information can end up.

There are two definite considerations here – personal safety and financial safety and both need to be considered if you use social media.  The first because it can give an unknown party intimate knowledge of family details, movements and habits.  The second because an unknown party can build an accurate personal profile of us.

Never post information such as photos of your passport, credit card information, drivers licence details, upcoming holiday information, family phone or email details and especially in regard to children.  There are many privacy settings in most of these social media sites so if you are currently using one I suggest that you have a look through these settings and see if you could tighten them up.

Many site of these sites and the posts that we put on them seem like a good idea at the time, but unfortunately many have had their own words or posts come back to bite them – be careful! 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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