Social Media: How safe are you online?

cartoon Eyes looking at me
Whose looking at you??

What if I told you that I know who you are? That I can see you. I can hear you. I know where you live. I know where you work, where you went to school, what your exam results were? How safe are you online using Social Media?

What if I know what you did yesterday, let alone what you did last summer? (Nice little movie reference there!) Would you look around, looking to see if I am there, watching? Would you believe me? Would you look at your computer, laptop, tablet or phone and wonder if somehow I have hacked into it and I’m looking at you right now?

Maybe I have hijacked your webcam and microphone. Maybe not. I could be RIGHT THERE BEHIND THE DOOR?!!!

ARE YOU???

Don’t panic, it’s OK – I’m not and I have done none of those things at all. In all honesty, I wouldn’t know how to do half of those things without some serious searching on some dubious websites and even then I don’t think I could do it. Even if I could do it, personally, I wouldn’t so don’t worry about me. BUT I can find out most of those things about most of you, and I can find out fairly easily normally. And I am not even your “friend”. Imagine if I was and we fell out?

How?

Did I need to hack into your laptop or phone? No, I simply did a basic internet search for your name, nothing more nothing less.

Err… Can I stop this?

The good news is yes, you can change your safety & security settings, your visibility settings etc and change this so your profile is secure so that going forward, it isn’t an issue. Especially look for something like “Allow internet search engines search your profile” and turn that off. One of the biggest things you can do is stop logging in to other sites with your Facebook or Google account. Why? Because Google and Facebook keep your data secure (sort of – let’s just take it they do and leave that there for another day). Third parties do not look after your data as much as you think, are not generally as secure and probably haven’t got your best interests at heart, so don’t give it to them.

The bad point is, sadly, once search engines have scanned your profile they are on their results for a little while after – so you may have to request that they be removed.

Facebook Bullying

So, is it easy to bully someone of Facebook? Yes – if they have their security and privacy settings set to allow this. Change it, unfriend people, block them from ever seeing your profile, hence removing their access. Bullying in all forms is totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated by anyone. No one should live their lives afraid of being bullied for any reason. Simple steps on social media can prevent a lot of it, for the rest, there is law enforcement. Don’t tolerate it people, do something to change the situation. Tell someone, and if someone tells you then you are going to help that person because they trust you.

Read the button!

I was trying to do something the other day on a professional social site and I, unlike many MANY people, actually take some time to read what is on the screen and what I am agreeing to, rather than just pushing the “Oh for gods sake just get on with it and stop annoying me” button. It wanted me to agree to this site not only reading and adding contacts to my email account, it actually wanted my permission so that it could delete my contacts from my email without notice.

Delete my contacts without asking?? Nope. No way. Nah. Not a chance. Nyet. But what if I had of pushed “OK”? Would I be wondering where contacts had come from and where had they gone in the coming months? How would I know what was going on? The easy answer, albeit a painful one to hear, is that without a lot of digging and guesswork, I probably would find out, but that’s my job. Could you?

Conclusion

So, how do I know all about you? Did I hack into your computer and trawl through all your documents and photos? Nope. I looked at your social media page because your settings were set to let anyone have a look, so i could see everything. If I were you, I would go and have a check of them. Just in case.

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