The advent of social media platforms has revolutionized communication and made it easy for people to keep in touch even while far apart. Social media has enhanced connectivity, and created platforms for people to make friends online, build relationships and sell goods and services. People have used social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram to share knowledge and create educational content. Social media has also enhanced freedom of speech as more people could free their opinion with their electronic devices from the comfort of their homes.
Social media has also been used to mobilize people for popular action and to champion the public good. Social media platforms have been an outlet for friends and families at home and away to share memories, share pictures, and videos and reach out to each other. However, the immense benefits of social media notwithstanding, it also poses very significant risks to people’s privacy with profound effects. In what follows, we examine the impact of social media on our privacy.
(i) Shared personal details can be counterproductive.
The information we share online such as personal pictures, and pictures of family members, wives, husbands, and children, could be used against us. Shared pictures of our houses, cars, the school we attend, the workplace, and our official position could draw the attention of cyber-criminals who may want to extort it or use the information we put up on social media to track us. A criminal got to know that the occupants of a particular house traveled through their social media posts and proceeded to rob their house only to be caught by neighbors. This is one-way social media seriously affects our privacy. When our social media settings do not limit those who see our posts to friends only, leaving it publicly available, our privacy is seriously affected. Criminals could use the information we put online to track us.
(ii) The Danger of Being Hacked
Within People, social media accounts are sensitive information such as age, phone numbers, friends’ lists, private conversations with family and friends, business contacts, videos and other personal details. If our social media accounts are hacked into by cybercriminals, the release of sensitive information that could seriously affect our privacy, damage our reputation and embarrass family and friends is eminent. This is one significant effect of social media on people’s privacy. When their social media accounts are hacked, personal information is released to the public in a manner that will not be in our interests.
Also, hackers could use such sensitive information to blackmail and extort people. When social media accounts are hacked, cybercriminals could perpetrate identity theft. Cyber-criminals could exploit and use hacked social media accounts to defraud unsuspecting friends or make them give up sensitive information.
(iii) The possibility of becoming a victim of rumor-mongering
Social media has been used to spread malicious stories and rumors about people damaging reputations, affecting their personal relations and disrupting business networks. Many persons have been victims of fake news spread about them by their enemies, competitors and criminals. In most cases, the source of this fake news cannot be traced, but people’s privacy has been infringed on.
(iv) The danger of being a subject of intense and unfair public scrutiny.
People’s personal affairs have been made public without their consent putting their families and loved ones to public scrutiny. A wife and husband arguing could be photographed or recorded in a video and put on social media, making them subjects of public judgment. Celebrities and famous figures having a good time at the beach, park or relaxation sports have their unclad or semi-nude pictures put online without their knowledge or consent.
With number of hackers and data breaches on the rise, the risk of your data being collected and used illegally or against you has noticeably increased. To be on the safer side, its advisable to use a super advanced privacy application like Hoody. A privacy app such as Hoody will help you protect your privacy and security. When using your browser with Hoody, each one of your tab and website gets a new IP, a new location and a unique set of Fingerprints, making tracking impossible. Hoody Phantom Browsing™ future-proof technology beats the most advanced and invasive tracking techniques.