Media Watch SOCIAL MEDIA Social media is a wonderful thing – we can instantly keep in touch with friends on WhatsApp or Telegram, stream music and videos, update our Facebook or Twitter pages, play games, watch movies, etc… BUT there are dangers lurking in the background, and depending on how careless our online habits are,
Social media is a wonderful thing – we can instantly keep in touch with friends on WhatsApp or Telegram, stream music and videos, update our Facebook or Twitter pages, play games, watch movies, etc… BUT there are dangers lurking in the background, and depending on how careless our online habits are, we can fall prey to a variety of threats such as phishing, identity theft, money scams, dating scams, viruses, etc. by revealing too many personal details such as home or work address, family pictures, ID number, contact details, and even your birth date, photos and banking and credit card details.
Here are a few key areas to watch out for:
Do not post:
1 – Personal details
2 – Information about your place of work
3 – Embarrassing incidents or arguments
4 – Defamatory comments
5 – Crime scene information
Hateful comments, racial abuse and cyber-bullying have become the order of the day, especially on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It’s important to remember that while social media gives you the freedom to express yourself, it doesn’t mean you should post an opinion on every subject out there.
Crime Scene Information – a big ‘No-No’
Sharing pictures of crime scenes and criminals is also something that one should never do, as this compromises evidence and police investigations and you could end up in court. Police appeal to the public to think twice before sharing pictures and CCTV footage of crime scenes or suspected criminals on social media. False information, hoax messages and outdated alerts can cause huge problems, not to mention the waste of police time and resources.
According to one attorney, “The moment something is posted on social media sites, it is considered ‘published’ and is therefore subject to the same laws applicable to traditional media, such as newspapers. Accordingly, claims for defamation and hate speech, as well as dismissal or disciplinary action for misconduct, become very real.”
Admins of WhatsApp groups can also be held liable for any inappropriate posts by group members, and should therefore keep a tight control over group content as well as who you invite onto such groups.
If in doubt, stick to the golden rule: think before you post. It could save you a lot of problems down the line.
Brian Jones (SA7)
Brian’s Passionate Desk
1. Cheryl Kahla, Four things you should never share on social media, 14.09.2019, https://www.thesouthafrican.com/tech/online/four-things-never-share-social-media/
2. Jason Milford, When social media lets criminals get off scot-free, 28.02.2018, https://citizen.co.za/news/news-cns/1839859/when-social-media-lets-criminals-get-off-scot-free