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Source: The Huffington Post
More and more of us are posting information on social networks, both professional (e.g. LinkedIn and Viadeo) and personal (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter), as well as on blogs and forums.
It is a gold mine of information, and companies have been created specifically to research, compile and resell it. For example, your age-sex-address data are worth €0.007. A message on Facebook mentioning a future marriage is valued at $0.107 and a Google search related to heart disease, $0.447. If you are interested in exercising to lose weight, some companies will pay $0.552 to know who you are.
Though these individual amounts may seem small, the total value of European users’ data is put at $315 billion today and projected to reach $945 billion by 2020.
We need to be careful about the information we communicate on social networks, and not just because of its potential use by marketers.
Young children and adolescents are especially vulnerable. It is important to help them use the social networks and Internet properly and, when they are very young, to install parental control software. A recent study indicated that 48% of youngsters between the ages of 8 and 17 had a Facebook account and that 88% of them posted personal photos, 68% their email address, and 27% their postal address. An astounding 31% admitted they had added people they had never met to their contacts.
Meanwhile, pirates are using the social networks to collect useful information (position/function, email addresses, contacts/friends, etc.) before carrying out attacks like targeted phishing (cf. Don't take the bait!). The social networks have also become fertile hunting ground for identity thieves.
And a final reminder: information published on the Internet can have consequences in real life, so be careful!