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Get started with social networks

Safe social networks

Learn how to use social networks more safely.

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Publicising a march...

Brenda and Isaac are going to a march and want to use Facebook to publicise the event. They are worried that the authorities could be tipped off and that anyone who shows an interest could be traced.
They plan to share photos and videos of the march without revealing people's identities, because they worry that participants could face persecution.

Social networking basics

What it does

Social networking websites have greatly expanded the range of possible interactions, allowing you to share messages, pictures, files and even up-to-the-minute information about what you are doing and where you are.

Nothing new

These functions are not new or unique – any of these actions can also be performed via the internet without joining a social networking site.

Potentially exposing

Although these networks can be very useful, and promote social interaction both online and offline, when using them you may be making information available to people who want to abuse it.

Who can access

Protect sensitive information

If you work with sensitive information and topics, and are interested in using social networking services, it is important to be very aware of the privacy and security issues that they raise.

Protect content and connections

Human rights advocates are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of social networking sites and need to be extremely careful about the information they reveal about themselves AND about the people they work with.

Protect yourself and your colleagues

Before you use any social networking site it is important to understand how they make you vulnerable, and take steps to protect yourself and the people you work with.

Who owns your data?

Private businesses

Social networking sites are owned by private businesses who make their money by collecting data about people and selling that data on, particularly to third party advertisers.

Rules of site owners

When you enter a social networking site, you are leaving the freedoms of the internet behind and are entering a network that is governed and ruled by the owners of the site.

Privacy settings

Privacy settings are only meant to protect you from other members of the social network, but they do not shield your data from the owners of the service. This means that you are giving all your data over to the owners and trusting them with it.

Choose the right lesson

Not sure where to start on controlling which people can see who you are connected to on social media?

Test you social networking knowledge!


  • en/topics/understand-4-digisec/0-getting-started/1-1-intro.md: Learn digital security basics
  • en/topics/understand-3-opsec/0-getting-started/1-1-intro.md: Basics of security for your organisation.

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