Monday March 5 2018

Social media is becoming a snare

Social media

Social media 

By Florence Nambooze Bbale

On February 27, 2018, Susan Magara was found dead in Entebbe area. Like the more than 20 other women who were also found dead in Entebbe and Nansana, Wakiso District (some with sticks or metals shoved up their birth canals), Magara’s lifeless body was found dumped near Entebbe Expressway after weeks of her abduction.

Renowned comedian Herbert Mendo Ssegujja a.k.a Teacher Mpamire would ask: “What went wrong? What went what...?”
Are we inviting trouble? Do we like to invite trouble? Well, although nobody intends to do so, we sometimes tend to invite trouble. We unknowingly invite trouble through over sharing on social media. Crowd sourcing powered by new technologies, social media and the worldwide web involves obtaining goods, services or content from a large group of people, usually online community.

With many media avenues and interactive programmes, it is essential to keep certain things secret. Crowd sourcing may include posing an innocent question like ‘where do you worship from?’ With social media, you can ‘check in’ at different places so that your friends know where you are.

You got invited to a dinner at your friend’s. You compose a tweet. But how safe are you when using these websites? What happens when you create a profile on Facebook and post things there? What happens when you upload a picture of your brand new car parked in front of your house?

When you upload a picture, its metadata, including your geographic position in terms of latitude and longitude is recorded. Yes, Facebook and Twitter posses a feature that can remove any metadata associated with pictures.

However, they do it only when you are using their web interface. Anyone who wants to know your details can simply download the picture and run it through software such as ExifTool designed to extract metadata.

Used with Google Maps, these co-ordinates give away the map of the place where the picture was taken. Imagine if you uploaded your house’s picture, a complete map to your place is easily traceable.

Saying you are somewhere sends out a signal that you aren’t somewhere else. Saying that you are at some coffee shop, you are also saying you aren’t home. Anyone can make a trip to your house when you are not there (when you have already notified them that you are somewhere else).

When you create your Facebook profile, you want to make sure that you enter each and every field they provide, including your phone numbers and email addresses? But who are they visible to? A little digging into your timeline will tell others what kind of person you are. Many of us receive Facebook friend requests and we just accept without doing a background check on them.

Florence Nambooze Bbale,