Social media – friend or foe for business and/or pleasure?
Social media – Definition:
Forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).
Social media has grown into areas that we may not realise are social media.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok are all social media. So are Whatsapp, Snapchat, Strava, Linked In and Telegram.
If you Google: How many Social Media Apps? One result comes back with – ‘101+ Social Media Sites you need to know in 2021’.
Let’s face it, social media is here to stay, whether you like it/use it, or not.
Social media is designed with two purposes:
1. Being social It allows people to interact in a way that they have never been able to before.
This includes: borderless communication, immediate notifications and the ability to keep in touch with any specific interest sector you choose. The number of apps and their various leanings, means that there is a social media app and genre for anyone to feel ‘included’ now.
2. Tracking and targeting you These apps are normally ‘free’ but we all know that nothing in this world is truly free. So how do we pay?
Being social needs no explanation but tracking and targeting is something we should all think seriously about…
Tracking happens every time we open a social media app, a specific page, click on a related link, or leave the app to go to another site.
The app often knows our age, name, gender and even our job role. Then there are the extended factors; it knows our ‘friends’ and ‘family’, our interest groups and the words and pictures we submit or comment on.
It draws the exif (EXchangeable Image File format) data from the pictures we submit to gain even more information about us. This data often includes: time, date, device, location and the direction the lens is pointing, plus altitude, barometric pressure, and operating system. It even knows our mood; artificial intelligence works out what we are interested in, when we log on at different times and dependent on what we click on, offers up adverts specific to the mood we are in, the place we are in and the group we are in.
We have all been on the web, browsing different sites and then we open up a social media app, and are shown ads related to pages we have just been browsing on the internet.
Cookies retain our data from the pages we browse and social media retains our personal data. This is how we pay for social media – personal information that is then sold to marketing companies.
Data about ourselves is submitted so freely, that I am sure Amazon, Facebook, Google and many of the other tech giants out there may know far more about us, than we know about ourselves!
So remember – social media is not free, but you can choose to limit how much information you put out there.
When was the last time you looked at the privacy settings of your social media profile?
Detective Constable Gareth Jordan has been a police officer for 13 years and prior to that, was employed in the IT and Pre-Press and Print sector.
Gareth is now based at Police HQ in Carmarthen and has been involved in investigating all forms of crime that have a cyber-element to them.
He has a wealth of knowledge regarding Cyber Security and continues to expand this by being involved in the day-to-day investigation of cyber-based crimes.
Gareth knows about the latest cyber scams and can explain how they are carried out – and more importantly – how you can avoid falling foul of them.