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Social media usage and cyber-crime

With the increased level of exposure that people have on the current social media channels, it is very easy for a particular person to easily share his or her information. For example, the introduction of media channels that are more into gaining access to the users’ data such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram applications among others, the chances of violation of the users’ privacy as well as manipulating them into sharing their information is very high. In this essay, I shall focus on the description of the relationship between utilizing diverse social media channels and becoming a victim of personal information leaking.
Cyber-crime as a result of using social media
As we have advanced technologically over the recent decades, various social platforms have emerged that have enabled us to interact and share information with other persons even if we are continents apart. Some of these social networks include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp among many others. Most of them can be accessed through the web by using computers and laptops while others are more user-friendly in smart mobile devices. When a user wants to become a member in any of these media channels, he or she is always asked to open a new user account that will host his or her personal information. Some, like Twitter and Facebook, may tend to lean on the social perspectives of the person such as personal interests and likes. On the contrary, others, particularly LinkedIn, are centered more on the professional perspectives of the user. In either way, a user may be required to share his or her personal information with the host (Garcia, 2017).
So, how does a person become a victim of sharing personal information? One may ask such a question. Well, any other user who accepts to link up with your profile may gain access to your information if you have not restricted whom to view them. For instance, another third party may be informed of your likes, your interests, your place of residence, and the schools you have attended to among many other things (Bindu, Thilagam, & Ahuja, 2017). As a result, the user who has recently joined the social network may be exposed to potential hackers and scammers (Mann, 2009). In particular, this data posted in a user’s account can be extracted by the data aggregators and then used to track the user’s movement over the web (Mangan, 2017). This act is possibly seen in Facebook and Google for their sole purpose of enhancing personalized advertisements.
Another potential crime that comes with usage of social media is the sharing of personal images and tagging a user’s current location along with it (Sun, et al., 2017). There are many criminals and abductors in the world that we live in. Thus, if their targeted user posts a picture or him or herself and the current place he or she is located at, the chances of the abductors may be high in finding the user (Simon, Ben, & Tony, 2018).
Finally, the sharing of personal information such as places of work and professional qualification of a particular user in channels like LinkedIn (Atalay, 2018) may lead to being a target of fake links and other malicious applications (Leonardi, 2017). For example, a malicious job link may be shared to a person who is looking for work without him or her knowing. As a result, his or her personal information may be encrypted, formatted, or accessed if he or she accessed the malicious links and/or applications.

Atalay, B. (2018). Cyber c rimes, communication and social media. İstanbul Aydın Üniversitesi Dergisi, (3), 1.
Bindu, P. V., Thilagam, P. S., & Ahuja, D. (2017). Discovering suspicious behavior in multilayer social networks. Computers in Human Behavior, 73, 568–582.
Garcia, D. (2017). Leaking privacy and shadow profiles in online social networks. Science advances, 3(8), e1701172.
Leonardi, P. M. (2017). The social media revolution: Sharing and learning in the age of leaky knowledge. Information and Organization, 27(1), 47-59.
Mangan, D. (2017). The legal challenges of social media. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Mann, B.L. (2009) Social networking websites: A concatenation of impersonation, denigration, sexual aggressive solicitation, cyber-bullying or happy slapping videos, International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 17(3): 252-67.
Simon, A., Ben, B., & Tony, D. (2018). Organised crime and social media: a system for detecting, corroborating and visualising weak signals of organised crime online. Security Informatics, (1), 1.
Sun, G., Xie, Y., Liao, D., Yu, H., & Chang, V. (2017). User-defined privacy location-sharing system in mobile online social networks. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 86, 34-45.

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