Don’t be cowed by paranoia on social media



Don’t be cowed by paranoia on social media
By Zan Azlee

I like posting pictures of me and my family on social media. My Facebook and Instagram pages are constantly flooded with pictures of me, my wife and my daughter going through our life adventures.

I’m proud of my family and it’s so much fun sharing our joy with family and friends. Both my wife and I are active on social media and the interaction we get with our followers is also a source of happiness.

Anyway, posting photos like this is so much a part of our modern lives now and it would feel weirder not to be on social media. It has become the norm in our culture that we cannot disassociate ourselves with it.

Then an incident that brings all this into question happens. Local comedian and actor Harith Iskandar discovers that pictures of him and his son were taken from his social media pages and posted on a porn website.

Of course, he made a report to the authorities and within two days, the pictures were no longer on the said porn website. Action was taken quite swiftly to solve the problem and all turned out well in the end.

We are all constantly reminded how we put ourselves and our families at risk whenever we post pictures online because of all the data that can be obtained, not just through the images, but also from the detailed metadata.

I, personally, do my best to limit the metadata, or information, that is documented. I shut down location recognition, geotagging, and whatever data that is recorded along with the photos that are taken by the camera.

But the one thing I refuse to do is to be paranoid and cease all existence on social media. Why should I, or we, be forced to not enjoy what is so much a part of life these days just because of those who like to take advantage of it?

We should work harder to expose and catch the perpetrators so to stop crimes like these from happening. The everyday person should not be bullied into submission and feeling too scared that they hide themselves and their children.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be prudent and careful. Of course, we have to be. Take all the precautions necessary just don’t be cowed. There will always be criminals and sick people out there and we can’t do much about it.

It’s like how we make sure that we always lock the doors to our homes and have security. But we don’t want to live in fear of robberies and other crimes because that would mean we would be denying ourselves the right to a normal and happy life.

Luckily, I have never found any of my families pictures used for purposes like pornography. But I have had to report and demand that a picture of my daughter which was taken without permission from Facebook and used in an advertisement be removed.

So I agree with how Harith Iskandar handled the situation. I’m sure it must have been a very distressing experience. But he turned into something positive by highlighting the situation, making the necessary reports and refused to be bullied into paranoia.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]


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