Social Media Conundrum

After all the buzz about the big social media platform in the news we were compelled to write a post about how all this seems to confound the IT minded person. We will try to not use any actual platform names to avoid becoming a part of any legal dispute with this fiasco. In the early days of the internet, technical staff warned how all of these social platforms could be harmful to the privacy of individuals and companies that used them. We warned against putting any private information in websites. We warned against cleaning out your cookies. We warned against contacting people on instant messaging platforms if you were unable to verify who they were. We warned about opening and responding to emails that did not come from your safe senders list. We warned about accepting terms of service and license agreements without reading them. But to this day, the average user still does all of these things without regard. It is no surprise to the IT minded person that the data collection was happening but there was nothing that anyone could do about it because people were willfully giving up the information. The ignorance of the media is comical but frustrating to a point as they use terms like “data scraping” and “wiping” and “bleaching” and haven’t a clue what any of them really mean or if they are even terms at all. (bleach is a chemical we use to clean our bathroom not a product we would use on a computer other than for external sanitary purposes) Now we want to regulate these businesses but what we don’t realize is it is too late. The data has already been provided. The internet is not and never will be a safe place to put your information. We have customers who ask “what is the best way to protect my information from hackers and their tools such as viruses and trojans”. We jokingly offer the solution of unplugging the grey or blue or yellow cable that leads to the wall (the ethernet cable) but even that is no longer a valid solution because of wifi and cellular data. Here is what we need to understand in today’s technology era and it is the same thing we should have understood from the beginning. We need to read the agreement. We need to post only what we think is safe for everyone in the world to see. We need to not be offended by what others think is safe for the entire world to see. If you didn’t want that creep to turn your vacation picture into some other form of art then do not post it on a platform where it can be taken and abused. You would not park your car in a busy parking lot with the windows down and the keys in it and think it was safe and would stay there would you? The only way you can truly fight it is to be more conservative in what you do. Social media is just that, social. It is a means to make it public, to be shared with everyone. It is not the platforms fault or obligation to keep your information private. It is the duty of the end user to be sure that they are only using storage services they can trust to not share the information that the end user does not want shared. This advices relates only to the use of social platforms and not to hacking and direct thievery. So again be safe out there on the net until we see each other again on the next data wave.