Dangers of social media

Social media is described on Wikipedia as: the interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.

Social media has developed since 1996 when Myspace was invented, since then popular social media applications have included Twitter (established 2000), Facebook (2004), Youtube (2005) and Instagram (2010). The applications have focused on integrating text, images and moving-image and tying them back to content producers, being the public.

Dangers can range from harassment (including bullying), sexting (posting private photos of another person publically), Catfishing (an act where by using a celebrity persons photo and impersonating them in order to con another person), online scamming (conning others) and phishing (one who seeks and collects private information to later use for fraudulent purposes). These criminal acts can do damage either financially or emotionally to victims.

One could ask whether safety measured ever imposed by the owners of the social media applications? What is clear is that each application has its own terms and conditions, which are often written on not so obvious webpages.  

Who is at danger with social media? Everyone who uses social media has the potential to be exposed to a range of potential danger.

Whose responsibility is it to look out for possible dangers? Responsibilities lie with the user of the applications. People need to be vigilant about how they use the applications and who they connect with, and what information they share. The social media companies need to also have some responsibility to act upon alleged incidents and take swift action.

Social media companies need to do more with being a manager of content. This was seen with the Christchurch incident – where live stream of killings were carried out over a significant length of time. Social media companies need to get better at censoring such content faster.

These same social media companies should be asking themselves if people have a problem what can they immediately do? And spell these steps out more simply.

In next month’s blog we will look at how can dangers be prevented by the end-user.

Sources:

– Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media

– http://www.phishing.org/what-is-phishing

Article by Billy Curry

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