Anytime you have two billion people engaging in the same space (Facebook and other social media platforms) you’re gonna have some trouble. Mixed in with the baby pictures and the funny jokes is a dark side. It’s no picnic out there on social media lately.
As John Stevens writes in AdWeek, there’s a lot of hate out there hiding behind the screens, and it can have devastating consequences. He cites some chilling facts:
- More than 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every day.
- 22 percent of social media users have fallen victim to security-related threats.
- Victims of cyberbullying, which occurs mostly on social media, are twice as likely to commit suicide than non-victims. (There’s a chilling link between social media and depression, too.)
It’s hard to police, and it’s growing by the minute. So how can you protect yourself and still enjoy social media?
Stevens has four recommendations. First of all, don’t flaunt your wealth and your good fortune online. “A notable example of someone who had to realize the consequences of flaunting wealth on social media the hard way is Kim Kardashian, who was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in October 2016.”
The robbers stole – among other things – the $4.5 million ring she had flaunted on Instagram.
Another threat to your personal security is carelessly using location services.
“Depending on the aim of the person making the threat, location information can be used to track where you are, to stalk and monitor you, to find out political or religious information about you or to steal your identity,” Stevens notes.
He also warns against revealing too much information, either directly by giving your information away, or indirectly through data-hungry apps you download and use. This kind of information makes it entirely too easy to become a target of identity thieves or real-life criminals.
Seriously, it’s no wonder that a lot of people are over it when it comes to time spent on social media. As a whole, we are growing increasingly reluctant to share personal information online, and that’s a very good thing.
Well, let me rephrase that – it’s a very good thing for users. It’s not so great for the platforms that rely on all that data and information to make money. The quest for consumer data is massive, and every keystroke, every “like” or “hide this” feeds the beast.
Social media can connect us, inspire us and be a lot of fun – but the darker side is becoming hard to ignore. Let’s stay safe out there folks.