Social Media Accused of Turning Users to Targets… Who’s to Blame?

Is it always fair to blame others for our mistakes? Since the introduction of Web 2.0, why is social media being held responsible for almost every little thing that goes wrong in our lives? To what extent do our ignorance and negligence play a role in making us targets to many different types of undesirable situations, such as theft and so on?

A brief intro…

Precisely 2 days ago, I came across the following article entitled “Burglars using Facebook, Twitter to find targets“. My first initial reaction, naturally, was: Oh my God! Social media is seriously a threat; its usage disadvantages are way more than the benefits one reaps from using it!

It took me some time to reassess and reevaluate the topic and look at it from a different point of view. Then, a while after, I remembered a line from a previous Thoughtpick article entitled “How Safe Are You? Privacy and Risks in Social Networks”, and I quote: “Think about it this way, what would be the effect of putting a neon sign on your front lawn saying “On vacation till the 25th””!

Is Social Media Guilty as Charged?

Is Social Media Guilty as Charged?

Different scenarios, same outcome!

Let’s take the following scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: You leave your wallet somewhere, on the table, in a crowded place. You come back and find it missing. (Who’s to blame?)
  • Scenario 2: You forget your car keys inside your car for a whole night. The next morning, you come back and oops, your car is gone. (Who’s to blame?)
  • Scenario 3: You tell everyone you know on Facebook or Twitter that you’re leaving on vacation and you’re worried about your little kitty that will be staying home alone and you come back to an empty house laced with yellow police tape. (Again, who’s to blame?)

Well, I know what you’re thinking: we can blame it on human beings and how socially unaware or irresponsible they are. Hell, we can also blame it on greed and hunger or even lack of love the thief suffered as a child! But deep inside, we should know better: We are responsible, more than anyone, for what we own, what we say, what we do and the outcomes of each and every one of these!

So, is social media completely innocent?

After a long experience with social media, I will not conquer that social media is innocent because it proved to be guilty on more than one occasion, especially when it came to privacy matters. Yet, it is unfair that fingers are always pointed at Facebook, Twitter and others before sound evaluation and logical assessment of the situations we face through them!

To sum up this argument, and after having read my personal opinion and analysis of the subject at hand, do you think social media is guilty as charged? And if so, would you send social media to a juvenile facility or would you sentence it to a minimum or 5 years in a correctional facility? :) Share your thoughts down below.

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Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Social media indeed facilitates the distribution of sensitive information, whether intentionally or otherwise. As it's all based on the Web while a user is hiding behind his computer, there is the false understanding that the user is safe… that's not the case. Just your name is enough to find you via publicly available white pages, a listed phone number makes it even easier.

    So, who's to blame? Definitely the user!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    Don' blame the tool, blame the users behind it. If you can't assess the risks of the tool you have in hand, then maybe it is better for you not to use it instead of blaming it for what goes wrong.

  • http://admaven.blogspot.com ADMAVEN

    It is a gray area – should we censor ourselves for fear of the unknown or rely on other technologies to keep us safe?

    The same system used by burglars to case houses (Twitter) has been responsible for countless acts of charity, security, and dissemination of critical information.

    In the end it comes down to drawing a line where you – personally – are comfortable.

    Thanks for the reference to ADMAVEN in your article.

    Nick Kinports, Digital Integration Manager, Maddock Douglas
    http://twitter.com/ADMAVEN
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/nkinports
    http://admaven.blogspot.com

  • http://www.jeff-flowers.com/ Jeff

    This is why I always include a picture of my pit bull and remind any 'burglars' watching my status updates that they can break into my house, but they have to get around my pit bull first.

  • http://cid-280a1538334a1cb9.profile.live.com/ Seika

    The fault of social media is being too open from the beginning, although they should’ve known users are taking their free service for granted and don’t really care about setting privacy information.
    The users trusted their information would be safe and private when they want or be part of their attempt for 15 minutes of fame in the other hand (which arguably, even real human would misunderstand the timing of which for when).
    They should’ve cranked up the default privacy at least, for the users that are type that wont read the manual book when getting new product.

    For the buglar and twitter case… even if the user told his plan on vacation, the buglar would still need to trace him back to his real world identity.

    But the scary part of the Reuters’ article is about how easy they accept someone as friend.
    The saying “A thousand friend is too less, a single foe is too much” doesn’t mean just befriend anyone right ?

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  • http://twitter.com/Krud Krud

    This is just one of the reasons I don't bandy about my real name and location. (Yes, I just said “bandy about”; I'm not proud of this.) People give me a hard time and say I'm paranoid, yet these same people wouldn't leave their doors unlocked overnight, nor would they tell random people at the store the contents of their wallet. (Nor should they.) As much as I'd love to think the web is like Mayberry, or the fake version of Milwaukee that Richie and Fonzie lived in (wow, I'm dating myself with these Ron Howard show references), the truth is it's full of people sending us spam e-mails, trying to get us to click on viruses, and sending attacks toward our internet connections. Not MOST people, of course. Just enough for it to be an issue.

    The only thing social media might be guilty of, is not making people more aware of this harsh reality.

    On that note, I'm off to bed. I don't know if the patio door is locked, so if it's not, if someone steals our Wii, could you switch out the laundry load on your way out? Thanks.

  • http://shesawake.blogspot.com loripop326

    Regardless of whatever anonymity someone thinks the internet affords, there is no excuse for posting things online that you wouldn't want the general public to know. Ask yourself: would you want that information published on the front page of your local newspaper, with your name attached? Would you blame the newspaper for publishing it if you gave them the story? I think not. Same principle, only what you're posting is getting published to a global community.

    Blaming social media is nonsense. It's the user that doesn't think about the repercussions of their actions that needs the flick on the forehead.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    “Don' blame the tool, blame the users behind it.” I lie this statement! The way of use and abuse are the reasons why tools turn bad!

    Thanks for the comment!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    You're more than welcome…

    And you're right: it is a gray area where there is no absolute wrong or right!

    Btw, I just followed ADMAVEN on Twitter :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    LOL!! Good one!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    “The only thing social media might be guilty of, is not making people more aware of this harsh reality.” Very true and I totally agree!

    Thanks for the feedback :)

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  • http://twitter.com/Mishon8 Tony Eyles

    Hey there -interesting post thanks. I struggle first with the idea that social media is some sort of entity that can take any responsibility but, even if it could, I would argue it is just a very efficient and transparent representation of humanity. Good, bad, charitable, predatory, it's all just us. At a base level it's no different to any other social interaction; at another it's hugely amplified. We need to take a little extra care and individual responsibility for our own outcomes with eyes wide open.

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