How Social Media Can Enhance and Threaten Your Safety

Oct 31, 2012 16:52:56Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

How Social Media Can Enhance and Threaten Your Safety

If you need proof that social media has both a dark and a light side, look no further than what happened over the past few days while Hurricane Sandy was ravaging the east coast. People used websites like Twitter and Facebook to spread information about the storm, disseminate safety advice and check in on loved ones who were in the storm's path.

However, USA Today reports that not all Sandy-related activity on these websites was helpful, and in fact, some postings could have put people in harm's way. One tweeter posted false information about the New York Stock Exchange flooding in three feet of water, which turned out not to be true. Other pictures of the Statue of Liberty being slammed by a giant wave were also fake, but spread like wildfire on Facebook.

Some people may dismiss such rumors, while others feel this misinformation has the potential to increase panic among social media users. That's why it's essential for people who use such websites to make sure they know how to spot sketchy information, check sources and be wary of false posters.

Even now that the storm has passed, Twitter and Facebook users must be wary when using social media sites lest they fall victim to scams, which are becoming increasingly common. Knowing how to spot these tricks and traps can help protect online privacy and prevent identity theft.

According to, online users should be wary of any posts that promise to help users make money quickly. Websites like LinkedIn and Twitter can be great for building connections within your professional network, but they typically aren't ideal ways to earn extra cash.

Sometimes, you may receive friend or follower requests from people you don't recognizes. While this isn't always a bad thing, be wary if you find that after you friend someone, they make multiple posts that sound like advertisements. These could be fake posters that are trying to get you to click on malware links so they can invade your internet privacy.

Speaking of which, it's also important to avoid clicking on links that take you away from your social media site to a page that you don't recognize. If a friend posts something that seems out of character, and that posting contains a link, play it safe and avoid clicking. Your friend may have been a victim of hacking.

Remember, social media is a great way to stay connected, but not everything you read online is honest!