Mark Zuckerberg was famously photographed last month with the webcam on his laptop covered up. Privacy risks such as these are often fobbed off as being myths and users are told they are simply being paranoid. But is this true? With extensive privacy settings across a multitude of social media outlets, how do you protect yourself online? What are the loopholes that you may not be aware of?
Terms and Conditions
Let’s face it, who actually reads the terms and conditions when they sign up to anything? No one. They are lengthy and complex but do contain everything we need to know about what we’re letting ourselves in for.
For example, Instagram found itself in hot water not too long ago when it became clear that when users upload photographs, you are granting Instagram a “non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the content that you post…” *
What does this actually mean? Well, Instagram doesn’t actually own your images, but they can use them without consulting you for marketing materials etc.
Did you also know that Facebook stores UK and European user data in the United States? As part of the Safe Harbour agreement, it is not illegal, but there is no guarantee that the US government will not access the data, potentially putting users’ private data in the hands of the government.
It has been suggested that the rise in identity theft in 2015 is directly linked to social media; with fraud prevention service Cifas calling social media sites like Facebook and Twitter a “hunting ground” for thieves. ** By being able to access key information such as a user’s full name, date of birth, address and photograph identity thieves have been able to assume the identity of others.
Thieves also target users for their photographs, which are stolen and then exploited in marketing campaigns and on websites. For example, last year a young mother’s pregnancy image was stolen and uploaded to a fetish website.
Is this making you want to delete all of your accounts? We don’t blame you! However, there is a way to still enjoy social media and limit the fallout of living your life online. Here are some useful resources on staying safe on social media:
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