Stay Safe on Social Networks

Social networks are getting more popular and people around the world are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networks daily. There are good sides of social networking like you could share your knowledge and discuss about topics which are you interest to the world. Companies also relay on social networks to promote their products and news and to get feedback from people in order to improve their products and services. However, there are dark sides in social networking which you should be aware of. One of the biggest challenge of social network is there is no practical way to verify identity of a user. Consider Facebook for example, when you create a new account, you could enter any detail that you want. You could enter wrong details about your age, name, country of birth, etc. There is no one asking you to enter your identity card and do verification and checking. There are many people who take advantage of this issue to finding victims on social networks. To be able to protect yourselves and your identity, it is recommended to follow these practices:

  • Control what you share: Sharing is good, you might visit a new places, find new adventures and you want to share it with your friends and family which is good but you have to make sure you don’t share too much information on social network. You could trust your friend and family but imagine one of your friend’s Facebook account been hacked and cybercriminals have a full access to all of his or her information, which means they could also see everything you have been shared with your friend. So think before share and do not share personal and private information on the social network even though your friends are already know them.


  • Be careful when you find a new friend online: Of course you should be careful when you find a new friend whether it is offline or online. But you should be extra careful when you find friends on social network. It is good idea to check their identity and do a verification before you accept new friend and share your details. Cybercriminals tends to do a research on victims and create a profile with interest similar to the victim. For example, if they know you like movie A, B, C and you traveled to country X and Y. They will create a profile with similar interest and they attempt to approach you in that way. Remember, social networks never ask you to present your identity card and you could enter whatever information you like and even everything is fake, no one is there to verify. In addition, the moment you share you information with someone or accept their request to be your friend, you couldn’t take back what you share easily. For one example even though you remove them as your friend and block access to all shared files, they might already downloaded your photos and personal information in their PCs.


  • Verify your existing friend: There are many people with same or similar family name and name or there are people who want to pretend to be someone on internet. If your friend has a Facebook account, it is good idea to verify that the Facebook user or account which you are connecting to is really belongs to your friend and if you receive invitation from your friend to add you to Facebook, verify it is really come from your friend and not someone with the same name or in worse case, a cybercriminal.


  • If you are parent , control your child: Some parents are very restrict with their children and they won’t let them to get involve in social network at all , while others give their children too much freedom and they don’t care about what they are doing. Both cases are not a good practice, social network is not very dark so you could take advantage of it to learn new things, while it is not very light that you could fully trust it and there are dark sides. You should have a trusted control on your children’s social network activities. There are good recommendations post on Microsoft Family Safety website.


Social networking is great and it is new opportunity to connect to the world. However, you should be careful when you are using social networks. Following simple rules and practices will make your social networking experience even better.  


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