Scourge of social media and its abusers

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As a media voice that reflects the conscience of the people, we have strong concerns that Khmer Times’ privacy protection on social media, especially on Facebook, has been compromised.

How will Facebook take responsibility for our account, now that Khmer Times’ user information has been stolen and leaked out to the public? If this continues, how can we trust social media anymore?

According to The Telegraph, former Google and Facebook employees have launched a multi-million dollar campaign to curb the worst effects of social media after becoming disillusioned.

A blurb from the group’s website reads: “Our society is being hijacked by technology. What began as a race to monetise our attention is now eroding the pillars of our society: Mental health, democracy, social relationships, and our children.”

In this modern era, technology is the key word and it rules our world, dictates every aspect of our life so much that we have become zombies to it – the internet, social media of all platforms, Instagram, Viber, Line, etc. All of these pose inherent dangers to users, no matter how careful and how tech savvy they perceive themselves to be.

While technology has improved everyone’s life in various ways – from providing breaking news on smartphones, to social media messages which are at times faster than real time news – it has also becomes less reliable due to postings from a vast array of sources whose veracity are questionable. Because of that, it affects our way of life and also national security.

On the downside, it has developed a generation of hackers and hate groups who despise progress, who loath alternate information or news and who cringe at the reality facing them. The slowness of the cybercrime unit in making any headway in the numerous cases reported, is also not helping at all. It has many cases to investigate but bureaucratic and incessant red tape, hamper investigations and produce no results.

CBS news in one of its news broadcasts asked: “Facebook claims it has 400 million users (then. Now there are about 2 billion active Face Book users). But are they well-protected from prying eyes, scammers and unwanted marketers?”

Not according to Joan Goodchild, senior editor of CSO (Chief Security Officer) Online.

She says your privacy may be at far greater risk of being violated than you know when you log onto Facebook, due to security gaffes or marketing efforts by the company. She spotlighted five dangers she says Facebook users expose themselves to, probably without being aware:

• Your information is being shared with third parties

• Privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign

• Facebook ads may contain malware

• Your real friends unknowingly make you vulnerable

• Scammers are creating fake profiles

While there are many who literally and for all intents and purposes swear by Facebook, from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed, the dangers of irresponsible users are real – no matter what safety protection measures the social media networks and platforms invoke. Facebook is not totally secure, as seen by the numerous hacks and destruction of personal information, corporate news, posting of illicit or fake news, hijacking of social media accounts for sinister use – the list just goes on and on.

It’s high time that cybercrime laws be tightened and executed more effectively. Any abuser of social media should be named and shamed if and when they are caught. Many countries around the world are already doing this to protect their citizens and national security.

Is Cambodia going to do the same or just remain silent when such heinous crimes are committed? Sad to say to date there has been no concerted, coherent nor cohesive approach towards nabbing these criminals.

Affected victims now seem helpless when their accounts are hijacked. Any attempts to contact Facebook is an attempt at futility. It is an answering machine that takes your complaint instead of an actual person giving you advice.

So, victims are forced to suffer helplessly. When are the laws going to be tightened and executed effectively for it to be actually affective!

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