THE INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS INFLUENCERS

Back in October 2019, when I was approached by Lauren, who is now Head of Content at the Female Lead, and told me my page(emma-watson.net) was a positive example and that they want to collaborate, it reminded me of what I promised to do to my colleague, Michael, the webmaster of the site(promote, expand, create). We are now onto the fourth campaign.

The first campaign’s message told youngsters the importance of choosing a role model or influencer who is great for their mental health. The Female Lead run their own research because the founder is so smart she sold a global data company to Tesco and has many other great contributions(see here). Through a study ran in schools across the UK, they found that ‘’a causal relationship exists between following positive female role models on social media and having higher, focused personal and career aspirations’’(The Female Lead – 2019 Research).

The internet is in dire need of some sort of policing, we have way too many ‘’influencers’’ who sell weight loss teas which can cause kidney failure and other conditions, unhealthy beauty standards – tell me Jennifer Lopez doesn’t use filters! Yes she does, and she’s still beautiful, but tell me why most public figures are lying about their use of plastic surgeries? UK lawmakers did ban the use of filters from being used to promote skincare and cosmetics and were assisted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

#DisruptYourFeed this #IWD2022 – The Female Lead Artwork.

Youngsters need to be shown and taught the importance of logic when choosing a role model from the online environment because all these things and people are shaping their subconscious mind, which then trickles down to affecting their way of thinking, their character, behaviour and personality, their realities, with effects on their self-worth and self-image which you can see how deep it goes! It would greatly help their confidence if they are reminded that often heroes are right next to them, living in their boroughs, maybe teaching in their schools, they may never be seen or celebrated online or on television.

The internet won’t go away, but we can teach how it can be used in a good way. I remember my parents never used a pc when my father first bought ours, so they weren’t in a position to teach me and my brother about the existence of porn and its dangers to young minds, potential toxicity of social media. For example, I was a chat moderator on emma-watson.net around 18-19 years old and was baffled about young folks lying about their nationalities as if it was a shame to tell the truth. I was often asked why I am open that I am Romanian which blew my mind, like why shouldn’t I? My favorite was noticing internet relationships between people who never met.

This #InternationalWomensDay2022, we should be mindful where we focus our energy on, and in whom we invest our attention. I nominate @PRAcademy, @_EmmaDrake, @LynseyWatt for empowering me, for support, great content and teaching. Who do you nominate?

THE BIG PROBLEM WITH CYBERSECURITY

For this week, I have three blog ideas, one of them being cybersecurity, as I noticed my Facebook and Instagram accounts were being broken into. Cybersecurity in the words of IT GOVERNANCE is ‘the application of technologies, processes and controls to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber attacks. It aims to reduce the risk of cyber attacks and protect against the unauthorized exploitation of systems, networks and technologies’’.

Inside your Facebook account(the web address hasn’t changed) you can find several ways to cyber protect your account. Click on the arrow down next to the Notifications bell, go to Settings and Privacy – Settings – Security and Login. This is where you will see all the unauthorized logins to your account, in the ‘’Where You’re Logged In’’ section. This is where I saw logins from different Romanian counties on my account. One cannot be in multiple locations at once, digitally and physically, so I knew I had a big problem with cybersecurity. One enabled option doesn’t cover you.

Facebook login page

I was already using a password manager called LAST PASS, which also generates strong passwords, and you can customize them to contain numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase; I already had two factor authentication enabled but it clearly wasn’t enough. Once somebody hacked your account, they can see your backup codes for your account in Instagram, I know because I tried using several backup codes and didn’t work which means they were already used.

I could tell somebody was spying my accounts because my messages were opening up seemingly at random, when I knew I closed these conversation windows, also my Instagram theme changed from dark to light without me changing it. I had alerts enabled for unrecognized logins as well in my Facebook account but these were never received.

What you can do instead is enabling the Authentication app which is readily available as an option in the ‘’Two factor authentication’’ section. Google Authenticator app is easy to install from the Android Play Store or Apple Play Store and easy to use. As a result, I get random codes sent to me as early as 6am but I sleep well knowing they can’t access my account.

Another tip I have to give is using these strong passwords and changing them often. Strong passwords aren’t strong on their own, but use them anyway. ‘’S3Dg6&E4e4yd’’ is still better than ‘’hotcookie2’’ – which I never used for any account, just made it up for this blog, if you have it as a password do be ‘ashamed’ of yourself, and go change it. Make sure each password is different on each platform.

Your accounts could also be broken into as a result of ‘’phishing’’, which is when the attacker masks themselves as a website or institution you trust to do something like clicking on an instant message, email or fake social media page, online banking. ‘’The FBI has noted about a surge in pandemic-related phishing, tied to the growth of remote work’’(IBM, 2021). My old Myspace account was phished using a fake social media page which looked as normal and I’d have to unlock my account, change the password and it would happen again till I changed the email.

I did notice the difference between the safe and normal Facebook login page and the fake one(the colors are different and the design), where the fake page looked like a mobile version. I apologize for not screenshotting it to use here as an example but be super attentive of these changes in web pages. Hope you found my story useful and stay safe on social media!

REFERENCES:

Anon., n.d., What is cybersecurity? IBM. Viewed [11/9/2021]. Available from: https://www.ibm.com/topics/cybersecurity

Anon., n.d., What is cybersecurity? Definition and best practices. IT Governance UK. Viewed [11/9/2021]. Available from: https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/what-is-cybersecurity

REPUTATION, DATA PROTECTION AND A BIT OF FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWING

Try to find someone not present on a social media platform, it’ll be difficult, you could easily research how widespread Facebook and Instagram actually are. A simple search on Google with the words ‘’Facebook users in Africa’’ will lead you to a Statista webpage, what you’ll see there will be just how many users there are in West African countries many wouldn’t think would be ‘’civilized enough’’ to have Internet access considering how most Africans are portrayed in the media, yet Nigeria in the stats has the most Facebook users: 31.560!

Is there a connection between company malfeasance, whistleblowing and contractarianism? I have connected these dots after this week’s seminar on Data Regulation Requirements, when we looked at Frances Haugen, Facebook’s recent employee turned whistleblower and company malfeasance and I couldn’t stop myself from seeing them tied-in. A whistleblower is often an employee who recognizes and takes action in reporting wrong-doing within the company they work for/at.

OLEG MAGNI/PEXELS.COM

She, Frances, was under a work contract with Facebook as a Product Manager & Data Engineer and Scientist, saw many things happen, had access to and gathered evidence that Facebook knew of their impact on young girls among other, decided to come forward, as a result on 5th of October 2021 she got published and her testimony travelled around the world via optical fibers so fast she even testified in front of the American Senate in a little over three hours, a week ago.

Facebook is still alive and kicking after having been down for six hours, and Forbes reported that the company lost $65 Million during the outage while CEO ‘’Zuckerberg’s fortune declined by $5.9 billion’’. (Forbes 2021). Some users didn’t notice anything wrong, whilst others’ addiction had no escape but to gather steam like a pressure cooker. Those who frequently fall under the spell of mindless scrolling felt it. How will this impact the company reputation? It remains to be seen. Facebook and Instagram haven’t been punished by law to this day for creating digital electoral wars and for their social conditioning.

PRATEEK KATYAL/PEXELS.COM

In the European Union, users can control what happens to their data thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation, applicable since May 25th 2018 in all of its member states, which influences how Facebook operates in the EU. Thanks to the GDPR which protects what happens to my personal data (GDPR, 2021), but I am still being tracked, through cookies and other tools I’m innocently unaware of. I always see how intelligently Facebook seems to observe my Google searches online and offers me ads containing similar items. How do they know I wanted recycled wool gloves!? I actually like ‘em, Facebook! Thanks!

Going forward, I was seriously thinking having my own social media platform and website, away from Facebook, and thinking how to move my own business away from Facebook, but still being aware that Facebook gives me access to millions of like-minded users, and reminding myself of the benefits of advertising on this platform. Will I stay or will I go?

REFERENCES

Abram Brown, 2021. Facebook Lost About $65 Million During Hours-Long Outage. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2021/10/05/facebook-outage-lost-revenue/

Anon., n.d. Personal data. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://gdpr-info.eu/issues/personal-data/

C-SPAN, 2021. Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies before Senate Commerce Committee. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnpVQnv5Cw&ab_channel=C-SPAN

Statista, 2021. Facebook subscribers in West African countries 2020. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1139386/facebook-subscribers-in-west-african-countries/