What is safe nowadays? Most life scenarios can be fraught with risk if we are not careful.
Of course, the internet is also a central part of life now, which can be equally as unsafe and carry over to the physical realm too. So, safety is a question that also relates to the internet. But how, you may ask?
No, clearly nobody can aim a gun at you or hit you with a car while you are behind your keyboard.
However, that doesn’t have to happen for you to be in an unsafe situation.
Social media is simply a conduit, like a portal on the internet universe through which danger can come to you by manifesting itself in several different ways.
What are the two things that more than half of the planet’s population gets up and does every day? One is to connect to the internet, two is to access social media as soon as we open our eyes. What is one thing most of us have? A social media account where we communicate with anything from two to one hundred different people each day. We can schedule social media posts to be more active at these platforms using social media scheduler to share day to day activities or can enhance businesses to promoting services their to target right audience.
Sometimes, we communicate with people we don’t know. We also share our most personal data online, without thinking twice. We believe to strangers with thousands of followers without any Instagram influencer analysis.
So, then, we come to safety. Safety can mean a lot of things, such as the personal safety measures you take everyday to protect your existence.
Safety can also mean being proactive and having knowledge about countermeasures in order to protect yourself. All of us need safety in our lives, which means safety knowledge, safety experience and tried-and-tested safety practices.
How does safety apply to the internet and social media? Well, since safety is such a broad term, let’s narrow that down to the knowledge and tools required to ensure data privacy and overall cybersecurity when it comes to social media. For instance, social media platform encryption differs from platform to platform, as do data privacy measures. Another example is privacy, because when privacy is breached this can be a direct danger to us, even physically.
What Constitutes an Unsafe Social Media Platform?
Today, a lot of people are consciously going into what is called ‘social media detox’ periods, which goes to show that too much social media is not a good thing. As far as safety is concerned, the general consensus is a move away from mainstream media. The big players.
That would be Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Youtube. Still, there are others worthy of mention here that impact overall safety, even mental health such as Snap and TikTok, to name the big ones.
Most of the big companies that foster billions of users have at some point had; data breaches and privacy scandals.
That means that your personal data (messages, posts, photos, videos, other details) are not safe with them. In fact, your data has also been sold to data collection agencies to create ‘better’ algorithms and ‘user interaction’.
Of course, the problem when it comes to privacy is consent, which is not asked of us when this process occurs. Secondly, these platforms are vulnerable to cybercrime and cyber attacks. What does that mean exactly?
That means that the company that holds your data on its servers can be compromised by hackers leading to huge public leakages of data, and crimes like identity theft, financial theft and more.
An unsafe platform can also be considered as one where horrible people like sexual predators hide. A phenomenon called catfishing (someone cloning your identity) is also a popular occurrence on social media.
What Are The Social Media Platforms Most People Use?
Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube are by far the social media platforms with the most users. When combined, these applications, or apps, comprise billions of people all over the world interacting with each other and others, sharing information, every minute of every day. Hundreds of millions also use Snap and TikTok too. People also try different tools to get the maximum reach, they can have. For instance, TikTok users often try to use TikTok automation tools to enhance their reach.
How to Stay Safe on Social Media Platforms
At the moment, there is a massive migration of people from big mainstream social media platforms to newer, less commercial, sometimes non-profit initiatives which can guarantee you a certain amount of data security and privacy.
So, you get better personal privacy, decentralization (sometimes), a transparent policy, even censorship protection, and high-level end-to-end encryption.
There are loads of options out there currently, and more are on the way. As far as messaging goes, some of these are; Signal, Telegram, Mastodon, Minds, Steemit and Keybase.
Signal, especially, is at the top of the game when it comes to guaranteed security, anonymity and privacy when instant messaging online.
There is a reason why hundreds of millions have flocked to Signal.
As far as social networking goes, the answer is much more difficult. There are options such as Ello, Vero, Diaspora, Reddit and Clubhouse.
A simple online search for social networking alternatives will bring up many names. Granted, especially where social networking is concerned (as opposed to messaging that is a less complex platform) the two default platforms are Instagram and Facebook Ad Template.
For videos, everyone’s default (pretty much) is YouTube and for the younger demographic who love flicking through short clips, it’s still Snap and TikTok that dominate. It will take time for social networking alternatives to gain as much traction as the current players on the market.
There are several things you can do though, even if you opt to stay with one of the big mainstream social media and social networking players (sometimes, there is no other choice than the already established platforms.)
Here are some great baseline tips to get you started with security and privacy for Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube and others;
- Use a paid VPN or Virtual Private Network to protect your internet traffic
- Have a good, long look at your privacy and security settings on your social apps
- Activate multi-factor authentication security on your apps
- Do not communicate or share information with unknown people online
- Do not overshare yourself online, especially your address, passwords, or finances
- Secure your accounts with good password hygiene, as well as your home WiFi router