4 Ways You Are Unknowingly Exposing Yourself to Threats on Social Media

Opinion: Social media has majorly been a force for good, but there is a dark side

4 ways to avoid reactions like this
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Facebook announced in its third-quarter-2017 financial results that it now has 2.072 billion monthly users. That’s more than 2 billion people actively engaging with the platform every month.

Not just Facebook, but social media is too big to ignore at this stage. Social media has also majorly been a force for good, but there is a dark side: cyberbullying and threats from mostly anonymous trolls hiding behind their computer screens.

In fact, it seems nobody is immune. Just recently, two-time Grammy Award winner Ed Sheeran was forced to quit Twitter due to threats, attacks and hate from trolls. Major celebrities including Adele, Stephen Fry and Zayn Malik have also had to take Twitter breaks due to threats on social media.

When it comes to social media, some facts should be known:

  • More than 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every day.
  • 22 percent of social media users have fallen victim to security-related threats.
  • Victims of cyberbullying, which occurs mostly on social media, are twice as likely to commit suicide than non-victims.

Even in the real world, you can’t stop threats completely. Social media is much more difficult to police, and it is getting bigger by the day.

Here are four ways you are unknowingly exposing yourself to threats on social media, though:

Flaunting your wealth and luxuries

We all want to be the life of the party, but sometimes it is worth asking if it is worth the risk. A common trend now, especially among youths, is to flaunt their wealth and luxuries on social media. This can have serious consequences.

A notable example of someone who had to realize the consequences of flaunting wealth on social media the hard way is Kim Kardashian, who was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in October 2016. The robbers targeted Kardashian, and they went away with more than £9 million ($11.9 million) worth of jewelry. One of the items stolen was a £3.5 million ($4.63 million) ring that her husband recently gave her. Not surprisingly, though, Kardashian had flaunted the ring on Instagram prior to the attack.

When you flaunt fast cars, expensive diamonds and stacks of cash, don’t be surprised when thieves and robbers decide they want a taste of your wealth.

Carelessly using location services

While one of the selling points of using location tracking in social media or services is the fact that they make things more accessible to you, very few people consider the risks. Ignoring the fact that some unscrupulous service providers can sell the data, it is worth noting that having social media sites publicly display your location can threaten your security.

Depending on the aim of the person making the threat, location information can be used to track where you are, to stalk and monitor you, to find out political or religious information about you or to steal your identity.

Obviously, security agencies have been taking steps to ensure that users’ privacy is protected when they use services that log and display their location, but you can take additional steps for your security. This could mean disabling any form of location logging if you don’t really need it, or selectively using virtual private networks to mask your real location when you don’t want your location revealed.

There are many reliable VPNs, and HotSpot Shield and Private Internet Access remain some of the most popular options.

Your usage of social media apps

Another very common way people unknowingly jeopardize their security on social media is by not paying attention to social media applications they use. When you allow any and every app to have unnecessary access to your information, you are potentially jeopardizing your security.