Social Networking

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are a great way to keep up with friends, post pictures, share videos and links, and learn more about others. While these are good things, there are an increasing number of people being harassed, having their identities stolen, and experiencing negative consequences from information they posted or others posted about them. It is important to understand the security concerns with using social networking sites, so that the sites can be enjoyed without putting you and others at risk.

Ethical Issues

  • Be selective with the information you post so that you don't ruin your online reputation. A funny posting today might end up on the hands of someone you wouldn't want to see it. In a 2011 survey from U.S. News and World Report 89% of hiring managers and recruiters review candidate's professional online data and 86% of employers believe a positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions. Employers are using Facebook and other social networking sites to investigate the lives of job candidates.
  • Convey your best image online.
  • Sharing photos is fun, but think about what a picture says about you. Are you comfortable with faculty, parents, and future employers seeing it? Posting embarrassing photos online can cause problems for you later on. Posting embarrassing photos of others can be a form of cyberbullying or online harassment. Check with others before you post their picture. Remember, once you post information, you can never take it back completely. Google may have cached the information, or others may have saved the information on their own computers.
  • Report inappropriate behavior. Most social networking sites have links where you can report inappropriate, suspicious, or abusive behavior. If you become aware of a crime, observe a suspicious person or situation, or are a victim yourself, promptly report it to Campus Safety & Police at 278-5555.

Watch a few short videos on ethical issues associated with social networking:

Personal Safety and Security

  • Utilize the privacy and security settings available in online social networking sites.
  • Avoid posting too much personal information about yourself, including your home address, residence hall name and room number, telephone numbers, or other identifying information that others could use to harm you. Most social networking sites offer safety settings, but you still need to be aware of the information you are posting.
  • Avoid posting sensitive information, such as your mother’s maiden name, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. This information could be used to steal your identity.

Scams and Viruses

  • Avoid phishing scams. A common scheme is someone who hijacks one of your friend’s accounts and then pretends to be in a dire position. They ask for you to wire them money and promise to pay you back. If you get a question like this, call the person in question to see if their need is legitimate.
  • Be careful of what apps you are downloading in Facebook. Some of them have hidden fees or are viruses in disguise. Be especially careful, if these apps make you use your cell phone or any technology outside of Facebook.
  • Be aware of emails you receive that direct you to Facebook. You may receive an email that is a plagiarized version of Facebook’s standard emails (notifications for new friends, tags in pictures, etc.), which will lead you to the fake login page. Once you have entered your username and password into that site, they have your information, and will use it to hack your account and to spread this scam to your friends. So, when you get a Facebook email, make sure it is from Facebook. They are usually from an email address that ends in “” If it is anything other than this, do not follow any links, and DELETE the email. Other ways to spot these scams are noticing any slightly-altered icons or logos or any clunky, poorly translated English.
  • Be careful of what links you click on. If it looks like a site you wouldn’t normally visit, double-check with whoever sent you the link to make sure it’s legitimate. They may have no idea they sent it to you because their profile may have been hijacked.
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