Social media and social platforms are rapidly becoming the go-to places for individuals and are recruitment tools for organizations alike. Online social networks allow users to stature connections and facilitate relationships with other Internet users. They store information about a user regardless of the status of the account, operational or inactivate –deleted ‘by the user’. Most users of social networks use it to keep in touch with old friends or make a new one or better yet to find true love.
Gone are the days, when businesses are only reliant on perfectly structured recommendations from persons you have entrusted to do so, we are in the era in which business conduct additional research on potential candidates via the social media channels. These research have the potential of arming the candidate’s changes if at some point derogatory content was published. This was confirmed by a research done by Kasper(2013), “Social networks enable recruiters to take a highly efficient, multi-channel approach to hiring, in much the same way as marketers target customers.”.
Security in social media
As more and more individuals upload personal information on social media, it becomes more of a concern as to the security risks of said information. Users upload a vast amount of information on a day to day basis without the full understanding of the security implications or the policies by which they are governed. ‘Always read the fine print’, in fact; how many of us really do read the policies on these social networking sites. If there are any flaws and or omissions, these are not normally caught by individuals just merely reading the document, but by corporations mandated to do so. The share jargons and length is surely a plot to discourage even the users that enjoy reading.
Users really do not know what exactly their information is used for, they are more concern about the ability to share thoughts, information, images, videos and whatever that makes them happy. With that said, the following questions immerge:
1. What elements of security are the providers responsible for?
2. What elements of security is the user, are or need to be responsible for?
The former is a topic of much debate and concern, organization entrusted with a user’s information sometimes violate even the very nature of this relationship. In a post by Runnegar(2016), she advocated for the “respect of Internet users’ privacy across the world!”. Some time ago Facebook made an announcement that caused many to rethink social on a whole. Facebook revealed that it would all third-party developers to gain access to the home addresses and cell numbers of its users. If the network in which you entrusted your data is facilitating such unforeseen violations, the mind cannot comprehend what they are doing that is unspoken to us.
Social networks are responsible for the protection of your data whilst preventing its’ misuse. They should protect us against ourselves by minimizing the amount of information we put out there for strangers to see. They should safeguard against cross-site scripting, clickjacking, survey scams, and cyberbullying.
In a statement by Lewis(n.d) he declared that there are factors that contribute to fraud and identity thief, “a lack of consumer knowledge regarding protecting your identity online; growing comfort with, and trust in, social platform providers;”, he further went on to explain that due to the main focus of social networking sites –to generate revenue, there seem to be a lack of policy standards and data protection against cybercriminals.
Finally, in a simpler sense, the users are ultimately responsible for their actions and the amount of information they make public about themselves on these networks. The user should always be aware of the terms and conditions with the privacy policies of these networks. If you have to make it private online — it shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
In conclusion, social networks are on the rise and are fastly becoming popular around the world as it seeks to register new users and collect a vast amount of information on us all. It is then at their discretion that we place our faith and trust. But are they fulfilling their promises? are they making right by us? And can we entrust them with what’s precious to us, our information? These questions will never be surely answered. Thus, it is up to us as users to safeguard against uncertainty like these and put less of our private lives within these networks. Social networks should be used responsibly, and as a general rule of thumb, nothing on social media is private. According to Smith(2014), “Many experts have told Pew Research that they think privacy challenges will worsen as the Internet of Things expands”, unfortunately, I have to agree with such point.
Global Internet User Survey 2012 (2012) How often do you read the privacy policies of websites or services that you share personal information with?, Available at: http://www.internetsociety.org/surveyexplorer/online-privacy-and-identity/how-often-do-you-read-the-privacy-policies-of-websites-or-services-that-you-share-personal-information-with-17/ (Accessed: May 15, 2016).
Lewis, K. (n.d) How Social Media Networks Facilitate Identity Theft and Fraud, Available at: https://www.eonetwork.org/octane-magazine/special-features/social-media-networks-facilitate-identity-theft-fraud (Accessed: May 15, 2016).
Kasper, K. (2013) The 2013 Social Recruiting Survey Results Are Here!, Available at: http://www.jobvite.com/blog/2013jobvitesocialrecruitingsurvey/ (Accessed: May 15, 2016).
Runnegar, C. (2016) The Internet Society believes privacy is key for a trusted Internet, Available at: https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/public-policy/2016/01/internet-society-believes-privacy-key-trusted-internet (Accessed: May 15, 2016).