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  • Ruhaani Badve

Tame the Web Beast!

Privacy is the fundamental right of every individual. It gives us power and dignity, shields us from unwanted intrusion, and establishes a boundary that gives us our personal space and the freedom to decide what we want to share. However, is it possible to have privacy on social media?

Over the past few years, the usage of digital utilities such as Social Media has increased yet there exist some loopholes in the Privacy sector.

Social Media has become a huge part of the lives of teenagers. A survey conducted in 2018 by the PEW research centre showed that out of nearly 750 teenagers, 45% are constantly online and 97% use a social media platform, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Though these platforms provide a ground for self-expression, education, and communicating and connecting with peers across geographical barriers, indulging in Social Media platforms exposes them to Privacy risks. Decisions made by young impulsive minds can be regretted later.

Social media platforms are prone to third parties accessing and misusing the personal information they hold. Depending on the network, the data at risk can include location information, health information, religious identity, facial recognition imagery, private messages, personal photos, and more. This happens due to a lack of awareness on the side of the uploader and a lack of security on the social media platform.

Information leakage can result in identity theft, blackmail, or data mining. Thus, social media, if carelessly used, is a gift to stalkers. Once threat actors have access to your account, they can impersonate you and use the trust you’ve built up with your followers or contacts to get them to download malware or give up confidential information. The more you share on social media, the more vulnerable you are to physical and cyber attacks.

It is easy to lose control over the information we share online very easily, therefore, it is of utmost importance that we secure our data by abiding by the following:

While creating accounts on Social media platforms, always thoroughly read the privacy policy.

Set strong passwords and use two-factor authentication.

Disable location access.

Inform a friend if you must meet someone you’ve interacted with online and choose to meet at a public place.

Check the safety of sites by ensuring the presence of a lock symbol in the URL bar.

Set up anti-virus protection.

Do not open spam mail or answer spam calls.

Log out from websites after logging in, especially if one is using multiple devices.

Show self-restraint while uploading any kind of personal information.

If uncomfortable online, immediately inform a trusted adult.

Speak up if you witness cyberbullying.

Social Media has made us eager to show and tell, but there is beauty in privacy. Everything isn’t meant to be shared. It is perfectly fine to keep certain information private.

Safe Browsing!

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