Do You Share Too Much Online?

15 million users in the UK alone use Twitter as a platform for communication to access news and to read and share tweets – which is why social media is great for businesses. But while it’s encouraged to share your thoughts, there’s an increasing risk of identity theft. Twitter allows users to a certain a sense of anonymity where users can create ‘fake’ accounts to abuse others [1].

“It has given a voice to people who have often felt excluded and powerless. It has facilitated entertainment, argument, gossip and abuse.” [2]

Identity theft is one of the most significant ethical issues concerning social media today. Users who are frequently sharing sensitive information online remain an easy target for ‘Catfishing.” Leah Palmer, real name Ruth Palmer (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31710738) was a victim of ‘Catfishing’. She openly shared private pictures on an unprotected Instagram account before someone created a fake account pretending to be Ruth, cyber-dated at least 6 men and portrayed Ruth’s husband as a “psychotic ex”.

Watch to learn a little more about “Catfishing”:

Recently, I’ve seen many people sharing images on Instagram via a fake account replicating ‘Nike, Adidas, Emirates etc’ assuming they’re taking part in a company competition. Creating a fake account on Instagram takes less than a minute and this is a huge concern for businesses using social media.

Hoaxes such as the following: (http://www.traveller.com.au/thousands-fall-for-fake-emirates-instagram-competition-2dual) lure naïve users into following, sharing and promoting a fake business account leaving the authentic one to deal with customer complaints. The competition promised a free flight to Dubai and managed to gather over 10, 000 followers.

But ‘Catfishing’ isn’t the only issue – Facebook and Instagram users are also unknowingly agreeing to share personal information with third parties. Facebook’s policy clearly states: “We transfer information to vendors, service providers, and other partners who globally support our business”, yet many users are unaware their personal information is being shared across the world. [3]

So although social media allows users to express themselves freely, privacy still matters in order to stay safe and protect yourself against fraud.

References:

[1] http://www.rosemcgrory.co.uk/2014/01/06/uk-social-media-statistics-for-2014/

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/24/twitter-abuse-abusive-tweets-editorial?CMP=twt_gu

[3] https://www.facebook.com/policy.php

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5 thoughts on “Do You Share Too Much Online?

  1. Hey Namat, I enjoyed the read!
    Catfishing is a very dangerous issue indeed… did you know that the person who is the victim of the catfishing ploy is usually emotionally invested in the person that they believe they are talking to and in many cases if they are convinced, the lengths travelled to make ends meet can be life threatening.

    How do you think businesses can avoid being victims of ‘fake’ account holders and ‘catfishing’?

    Here’s an interesting article, worth a read!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/05/nev-schulman-catfish_n_5774044.html

    Like

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  3. Hello Namat.
    Nicely written a well rounded blog on the subject, I have to say this could have been the first time that I have ever heard of “Catfishing” but the detail you gave along with the resources that you provided on cases of where it has been used in the past, gave a great amount of detail and insight on the subject.
    Other than to gain followers on these social network sites, how would you say that users using these techniques are going to gain anything from it?

    Like

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