As social media grows with every passing minute, the threat it poses grows with it too. One’s privacy and cyber safety today is perhaps their most precious commodity. An increase in online frauds and crimes has compelled socially conscious brands to take necessary measures. However, cyberbullying and cyber crimes often go unattended despite appropriate measures being drawn on social media.
A basic guide to cyber safety
Cyber crime is classified by three broad categories. Societal and institution-based ones are dealt with detailed legislation, while the individually targeted ones follow a more user-friendly procedure. Cyber crimes are a universe unto themselves, covering a broad spectrum of acts like E-mail harassment, online stalking, spreading obscene material, spoofing via social media and unauthorized access over gadgets. Further, crimes such as computer vandalism, plagiarism and transmitting a virus are also recognised as crimes against individual property.
However, hate speech stands as one of the most recurring cyber crimes on social media. Abusive or threatening speech, or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation is recognised as hate speech. According to Guard Child 88% of teens go through cyber bullying due to hate speech.
Reporting mechanisms on social media
As Facebook allows the maximum word limit of all social media platforms, it also allows more scope for cyber bullying. Facebook has set tight community guidelines and if one is found attacking someone , Facebook provides the victim with the option of “Report link” near the post. Similarly, Twitter also allows users to report abusive content. Once the post is reported, the user is expected to provide more information and Twitter proceeds with verifying the facts. Once a report has been submitted, Twitter provides recommendations for additional actions one can take to improve their Twitter experience.
Instagram in partnership with ConnectSafely.org has drawn measures on how to deal with inappropriate messages and threats. However, every social media platform recommends its users to only accept requests they are comfortable with and maintain strict privacy settings. Instagram does not allow the sharing of nude content as one of the measures taken to discourage harassment.
Identity Theft is also becoming common on social media. The term “Identity Theft” literally translates to using someone’s information to indulge in fraudulent misbehaviour on social media without their consent. Every portal takes necessary measures to keep the ratio as diminishing as possible for identity oriented crimes. However, individuals can take certain measures to maintain their cyber safety:
How do you stay safe?
- Make sure you add only the people you know on your social media accounts.
- Keep your privacy settings shared with your friends and if you are too sensitive about the information you share then you can go to the privacy settings and make it accessible only for a limited audience as well.
- Do not tag or post your specific location and activity.
- Be aware of your friends/connections.
- Always try to log out of your social media.
- Using numerics and special features in your password help your accounts be more secure. Lengthy passwords that are not related to your phone number or birth date can also keep your account secure.
- Use an internet security software suite such as TokenX, Web Titan or Flowmon.
- Before giving access to apps and agreeing to their terms and conditions regarding your information, spend the extra minute and go through their terms & conditions. Authorise only legitimate third-party applications to ensure cyber safety.
- Two-factor authentication ensures safer virtual reality. One must prefer to choose a combination of confirmation codes along with a password to keep their accounts hacking-proof.
#BeAware is a research and awareness campaign dealing with reporting mechanisms and community guidelines present on top social media platforms. Social For Good in partnership with DYT are running this campaign in order to make these platforms safer for everyone, through steady awareness. If you would like to be a part of this study, you can fill this form.
If you are still unsure about the mechanisms of safety measures on social media, please leave comments below and we will help direct you to the concerned channel.