Using social media responsibly

Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are a part of everyday life.

Used well you can digitally connect to your friends & family, enhance your social profile and marketability and provide an innovative communication platform through the use of technology. However, used irresponsibly, they can cause lasting damage.

What criminal acts can be committed using social media?

  • Identity theft
  • Malicious communications including harassment
  • Sexual exploitation offences

What is social engineering?

Social engineering refers to the psychology manipulation of people into performing particular actions or by getting them to disclose sensitive information i.e. personal

What is a digital footprint?

Your digital footprint is the data trail left by interactions in the digital world. Your footprint data is as personal as the information you wish to share. This trail could include:

  • Who you are / where you live
  • Who your family are
  • What your hobbies / interests are
  • Your current physical location

How can you prevent crime using social media?

You can make informed decisions about the ways you are portrayed which will help shape your personal digital footprint:

  • Check social media security setting regularly
  • Only accept ‘friend requests’ and/or ‘follow’ people/groups who you personally know and trust. 'Block’ and report any malicious people to the site administrator
  • Keep all personal information to a minimum and do not share any information over social media
  • Google yourself regularly to check what information can be viewed in public webpages
  • Make sure you ’log out’ of your session when using social media on public computers
  • Do not open any attachments / links sent from unknown / untrusted sources
  • Do not install anything from a website when asked unless it can be verified as safe
  • Install Anti-Virus and set updates to automatic
  • Ensure your software firewall is turned on, to block attacks change your account passwords periodically and avoid reusing a password for at least one
  • Visit the social media platforms and their safety pages i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Your responsibility

You can prevent cyber crime from occurring by ensuring you are responsible in using social media. Therefore, consider the advice provided, ensuring you routinely implement preventive action.

What counts as irresponsible?

Always apply common sense. If it is hurtful, defamatory, libellous or inappropriate in the physical world, it is online too. Irresponsible behaviour includes:

  • Making derogatory comments about individuals, even as a joke
  • Sharing confidential information about yourself and others
  • Sharing and/or stating sexually explicit, racist or homophobic material or images
  • Deliberately provoking arguments or disruptive behaviour
  • Making allegations about others
  • Accept ‘friend requests’ or following unknown and/or untrusted people, as they are not always who they say they are
  • Opening and/or installing software directly from a unknown or untrusted source or link provided on social media

Consequences of irresponsible behaviour online

If you do something irresponsible online, you could make yourself vulnerable to criminal offences, cyber crime or fraud. Implementing the right prevention and acting in the right way will reduce your opportunity to falling victim to crime.

There are FOUR Golden rules to follow:

  • If you would not say it to someone’s face in a public place, do not say it online
  • Adjust the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts—by doing this you can control the information you choose to share with the public
  • Do not share any personal details on online
  • Change your account passwords periodically. Strong passwords are easy to remember but hard to guess
  • Visit Get Safe Online for further advice & guidance

Humberside Police provide advice on crime prevention and security. For more information have a look around our Online Safety and Security section

You can also follow us: @Humberbeat, @HP_Cyber and Facebook