In this hyper digitized world of instant access and mass communication on a global scale, people hook themselves to social media as an integral part of life. Between Facebook, Twitter, email and cellphones, it’s nearly impossible for me to cut ties with anyone these days. Posting any information on the web invites any and all people to gain access to my intimate affairs. From my parents to exes to the people in high school I don’t want to think about to even insurers, the IRS, prospective employers and criminals, sensitive information is out there for anyone to snatch up and finally someone is talking about the inherent dangers involved.
According to MSNBC Consumer Reports released a report on internet privacy emphasizing on how people voluntarily posting private information online are leaving themselves open to a poor online reputation and various crimes. While all of this could be considered common knowledge it isn’t necessarily something the common person (me) would even think about until my bank account is flushed clean or I read about it online.
Information on things that would be considered as casual and unsuspecting is what can cause the most damage. For example, 4.7 million people “liked” a Facebook page about health conditions and treatment which health insurers may use against any one of them. 4.8 million people have posted where they will be on a certain day leaving them open to household robbery. Over 20 million people have their birthdays, which is vital information for identity thieves and 2.6 million people discuss their use of drugs and alcohol which may be picked up by potential employers. I guess that’s why I didn’t get the job…
There’s more, though. Facebook apparently likes to collect way more data than you might even realize. According to the report, “Facebook gets a report every time you visit a site with a Facebook ‘Like’ button, even if you never click the button, are not a Facebook user, or are not logged in?”
Even if I don’t have a Facebook and I visit a page with a Facebook “like” button, they’re watching? How is that even legal? And even if I use the privacy functions Facebook provides and restrict viewers to my information it can still be accessed by third parties through my “friends” using a Facebook app.
If you find your job search isn’t going how you expected or if you’re suddenly audited by the IRS remember that Facebook just might be the culprit. In this digitized world of instant access; information is shared on a global scale and as with anything the power inherent can be used for good and for evil.
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Brent Neenan is an SEO intern and writer at an online marketing firm in Bohemia, NY. Graduating with his BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing Brent enjoys keeping up to date on news and current events while jump starting his career in the world of social media. Currently residing on the south shore of Long Island he likes to spend his free time fishing in the salty waters of the Great South Bay and perusing the night life of the local towns.