Social media generic
Private pictures and messages between individuals, whether sent through WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram can all be stored and republished Image Credit: Pixabay

Social networking has a decade-long proven track record of connecting people, helping us keep up with the latest news, follow up on subjects that interest us, become aware of public announcements, obtain insights from specialists, and other titbits that help us and bring joy to our daily lives. While useful, one must follow proper ethics and be aware of pitfalls when using these platforms.

Defeat rumours

Rumours are a source of nuisance and the necessary task of addressing them lies upon each one of us. We must be vigilant and check any information received and not immediately take them as truths unless they come directly from an official source. We must be like a strong dam that stops the spread of false rumours. Be careful what you say about others and do not be drawn into contrived temptations

There are people among us that live off creating malicious gossip that insult and defame their targets. What might surprise you is that these gossips are actually carefully crafted traps that lure the target into a counterattack, which the gossiper will then use to make a legal case against the target. One should be aware of such traps and always make sure to state their opinion without defamation or mentioning names.

Handle private pictures with care

One of the disadvantages of the internet is the inability to prevent or even limit the spread of images and other media. Private pictures and messages between individuals, whether sent through WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, or even Snapchat, can all be stored and republished.

This is a matter of great concern which we must pay attention to as many people (from both sexes) have been seriously humiliated and affected by the release of these private pictures and messages.

Beware of fake accounts

Fake accounts are created by individuals or organisations with the aim of spreading strife in societies and for personal monetary gains. We must take care and must not fall into emotional traps, especially while receiving messages such as “Help a New Muslim” or “Poor child hospitalised”.

Other times they prey on your social responsibilities by posting fake messages, claiming to be from royal people such as “Princess wallet stolen” asking you to wire them money and that they will recognise you and return it once they are back in the country. Verify any new account to prevent fraudulent information or from being swindled.

Stay away from unverified third-party applications

Some people will innocently link their accounts with third-party online applications that write messages on behalf of the user. These messages can be as simple as daily useful information and statistics and be as complicated as replying to other people with remembrances.

Since they are generated in a different country, sometimes the messages posted are culturally or politically insensitive which can be quite serious. Even if the chance of this happening is less than 10%, if it was published in your name, you will be the one blamed.

Ahmed Al-Zarouni is an Emirati entrepreneur who writes on tech

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