Columns 27.3.2018 08:00 am

Keep your info to yourself

Why are people so surprised when some big-time crooks nip off with information they share willingly – even eagerly – on social media?

If one runs around in the garden during a thunderstorm, one cannot complain about getting wet. And should a person decide to cross a highway blindfolded, she or he dare not complain should they get knocked over. Right?

Well, apparently not.

It seems the basic rules of physics and common sense only apply to those not on Facebook.

The social media giant is under fire because of stolen user data used by dodgy analysts to influence public opinion.

This has me scratching my head and asking the universal question when confronted by the incomprehensible: Huh?

Let me see if I get this right.

Two billion people around the world record their every movement, their dislikes, their likes, emotions, events, etc, etc, etc on this big website called Facebook.

They do this willingly – in fact, eagerly. And when someone analyses this information, they get their knickers in a knot and scream “invasion of privacy!”

I know the reality is a tad more complex, but if I use words like diegesis and mimesis in this conversation some people might think I’m a word snob and unfriend me.

Back to Facebook.

The other day I watched a TV programme called Bait Car. The cops park a car in a dodgy area, unlocked, and with the key in the ignition. Lo and behold, usually within minutes, some small-time crook thinks he’s hit the jackpot and drives off … to prison.

In reality, Facebook is a dodgy area. Every participant parks their personal information in this area. And there aren’t even keys. In fact, there aren’t even doors in the world of Facebook.

So why are they so surprised when some big-time crooks nip off with their information?

Now consider this: Every year, every newspaper publishes crime prevention tips leading up to the festive season. They include things like ensuring your mailbox is emptied daily while you’re on holiday and installing day/night light switches to create the illusion someone is at home at night.

Well this year I’m adding another tip to the list:

When you reach the coast, think very carefully before you log on to Facebook and “check in” to the Margate hotel.

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.

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