The Social media was actually designed as a computer-based technology to facilitate the sharing of ideas and information and the building of virtual networks and communities. It originated as a tool that people used to interact with friends and family, however, businesses that wanted to take advantage of a popular new communication method to reach out to their customers adopted it.

Public commercial use of the Internet is known to have begun in mid-1989. The new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports reveals that there are now more than 4 billion people around the world using the internet and this is the reason the social networking platforms cashed in on the bounty with 3.196 billion users worldwide of the 7.65 billion world population.

The power of the social media is based on the ability to connect and share information with anyone on the planet earth as long as they also use social media. The way businesses re-engineered the initial purpose and aim of the use of the social media for interactions between friends and family is the basic reason why you can be hurt if you have an account on any of the platforms.

Without mincing words, there are a whole lot of good sides to the social media but you can be specifically and tremendously hurt in these two areas.

1. Sale of your data

The social media thrive on data. Those little innocent-looking forms you fill while creating an account with any of the platforms can be potentially dangerous. Most times you will be asked to give information that bothers on both your demographic and psychographic data.

Some of the data you innocently give out may even reveal details of your family and friends. All these are eventually sold to businesses by the social platforms in order to target you for their marketing campaigns, drive sales, improve investments in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, in addition to strategies for increasing conversion rates, prospect engagement, conversion rates, revenue, and customer lifetime value.

Since data has been described as the “new oil,” you need not wonder why businesses fall over their heels in the attempt to access your data. Facebook was fined for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal for two breaches of the Data Protection Act. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) concluded that Facebook failed to safeguard its users’ information and that it failed to be transparent about how that data was harvested by others.

The Information Commissioner’s inquiry into political digital marketing, following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, revealed that there is a form of data brokerage going on. The brokers collect data from hundreds of sources, including census information, surveys, public records, and loyalty card programs and then sell that information to other organizations.

Emma’s Diary a company that offers pregnant women and new parents health advice and gifts faces a fine for illegally sharing more than a million people’s personal data with the Labour Party

2. Data Breaches

Another area where the social media can hurt you and your loved ones is in the area of data breaches. Hackers are constantly on the lookout for vulnerability and the social media is a haven for them because of the huge amount of data at their disposal.

Administrators of the Timehop social media app may be wishing they could go back in time themselves to stop a July 4th hack attack that has affected some 21 million users. Tumblr suffered a data breach that resulted in approximately 65 million accounts being compromised. Peace claims to be the one with access to the account information of approximately 117 million LinkedIn users.

You would have expected that these organizations as a result of the huge resources at their disposal would have ensured unassailable security measures but the reverse has always been the case in most cases. Twitter has become an attractive target for various hackers and scammers. Twitter declared after detecting “unusual access patterns” on the site that as many as 250,000 accounts had been compromised.

This practically means that hackers potentially gained access to usernames, passwords, email addresses, and messages. But funny enough, Twitter puts it rather very mildly. “We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. We have fixed the bug, and our investigation shows no indication of breach or misuse by anyone.” reads the security advisory published by Twitter.

If we have to go by what the company says, subscribers may heave a sigh of relief but at what cost. How many sleepless nights have you been subjected to? How much discomfort have you and your family gone through? What about the distress and anxiety the family has been made to suffer?