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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media   

    Are the proceeds really going to charity? 

    Are the proceeds really going to charity?

    We’ve all seen the commercials on TV where if you buy a certain item a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a specific charity. Usually, those TV ads are sponsored by a major corporation whose product is a known item with a reasonable reputation. Also, the proceeds are usually going to a well-known charity that has done good across the country if not the globe. However, in these days of multiple avenues of media, it’s not just television where these ads are appearing. The problem is that some of these ads are trying to take advantage of your generosity.

    The Better Business Bureau is reporting that there are ads appearing on social media that purport to be selling an item for charity. Some of these supposed merchants will even go as far as direct messaging people and will ask them to help spread the word about the alleged charity. What really happens is that there is no charity and you won’t be receiving any item. Instead, the phony vendor is just trying to make off with your hard-earned money, or worse, trying to steal your financial information.

    If you come across one of these ads and are tempted to buy the product you should first do your research. The BBB recommends checking for reviews of the company first to see if they have any complaints filed against them. You shouldn’t be fooled by a slick-looking website either as they can be put up and dismantled in a matter of moments. You can also research the charity at Give.org which is also maintained by the BBB.

    There really is no level that online scammers won’t stoop to. If you just take a few moments to do a modicum of investigation, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these con artists.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , eavesdropping, , , social media   

    Is your phone really eavesdropping on you? 

    Is your phone really eavesdropping on you?

    Has this ever happened to you? You’re just innocently talking with your friends or family about something you normally don’t talk about. Then you see an ad on your phone for the very thing you were talking about. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there to suggest that companies like Facebook and Google are eavesdropping on your private conversations so they can serve you more targeted ads. It’s compounded by the fact that companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have admitted that human contractors listen in on conversations heard by digital assistants. However, at least one study says that the eavesdropping phone is largely a myth.

    A mobile security company called Wandera has said that they’ve conducted research which they say shows that tech companies are not listening to your conversations. They placed an iPhone and an Android phone in a chamber where pet food advertisements continuously played. Both phones were running Facebook, Instagram, Chrome, SnapChat, YouTube, and Amazon in the background. However, the researchers did not witness any related ads on the devices in question. The researchers also say that the data used by both devices indicate that conversations are not being sent to the major tech companies. That’s not to say that tech companies aren’t tracking us in other ways.

    Other things like location data and browsing histories are said to be more effective in serving us targeted ads. Also, if you use a loyalty card at any store, advertising companies buy that information from the store and can match it with your social media accounts. Supposedly, there are sett9ngs on your phone where you can limit such targeting, however, we’ve either not been able to find these settings or they’re buried so deep in the app’s settings that it makes it difficult to escape targeting.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ask.fm, Badoo, Bumble, Calculator%, , Grindr, Holla, Hot or Not, Kik, LiveMe, MeetMe, Skout, , social media, TikTok, , Whisper   

    The truth behind dangerous apps for kids 

    The truth behind dangerous apps for kids

    In Sarasota County, Florida, the local Sheriff’s Office arrested 25 men accused of approaching children through various social media apps. These arrests have spurred a number of media outlets to list the 15 most dangerous social media apps and platforms for children. These apps include Ask.fm, Badoo, Bumble, Calculator%, Grindr, Holla, Hot or Not, Kik, LiveMe, MeetMe, Skout, SnapChat, TikTok, WhatsApp, and Whisper. Is the media exaggerating the danger or are these apps really dangerous for kids? We’re about to give you the lowdown on these apps and tell you what you can do to protect your kids.

    The majority of the apps listed are dating apps. Any child under 18 has no business being in Badoo, Bumble, Grindr, Hot or Not, MeetMe, or Skout. Other apps on this list are livestreaming or video apps like Holla, TikTok, Snapchat, and LiveMe. While these apps allow users as young as 13 to register for their service, these apps should not be used unsupervised by children as predators have used them to either approach or groom children. Apps like Kik, Whisper, and WhatsApp are messaging apps which can be used like text messages. The problem with these apps is that predators like to move kids to these apps after approaching them on other apps so they can continue to communicate with them.

    While all of these apps are potentially dangerous there are, in our opinion, two apps which are extremely dangerous to children and they are Snapchat and Kik. Snapchat is the photo-sharing app where the photos are supposed to disappear after a set amount of time, however, it’s fairly easy for someone to take a screenshot of the photo being shared. Meanwhile, Kik is the messaging app that is a tool of choice among predators with one registered sex offender calling it “well known within their industry”.

    If you would prefer that your kids not use these apps there is something you can do about it. If your kids are using iPhones or iPads, iOS has parental controls that you can learn to use here. If your kids are on Android phones and tablets parental control instructions can be found here. Also, keep in mind that not all devices need a cellular data connection for predators to approach your kids. Many of these apps can be used on a wifi connection alone so keep that in mind when deciding how best to protect your children.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on July 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , influencers, , , social media   

    This Snapchat scam can cost you thousands! 

    This social media scam targets the young!

    When you hear the term ‘influencer’ thrown around today you’re almost certain to roll your eyes. While the term may make the person claiming to be an influencer sound vapid, it can be pretty lucrative if you’re successful at it. Depending on how many followers you have on your social media platform of choice, you could have advertisers lining up at your virtual doorstep hoping that you’ll promote their product or service. Many of these influencers have been able to turn their social media presence into a successful full-time job. However, for those just starting out, there are those who will look to take advantage of you.

    Once again, the Better Business Bureau is reporting a scam targeting young would-be influencers. The scam is said to be specifically targeting users of the photo-sharing app Snapchat. The scammer will offer a Snapchat user an advertising opportunity but will ask the user to pay for this opportunity by sending the scammers gift cards. If that wasn’t a big enough scam the scammers will then ask for the user’s login information before changing the login information essentially locking the user out of their own account. Then posing as the user, they’ll invite the user’s friends and followers to the same phony advertising offer perpetuating the cycle.

    As you’ve probably figured out by now, any time someone asks you to pay for something in gift cards, it is most definitely a scam. However, the younger social media users among us may not yet be aware of the gift card scam. If you buy any type of gift card and give the card’s ID number to a third-party, they can quickly empty that card and disappear without a trace. If you see one of your friend’s or followers on social media offering one of these bogus opportunities, their account may have already been taken over by con artists.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blessings groups, emergency expenses, social media   

    Can social media help pay for emergencies? 

    Can social media help pay for emergencies?

    If you’re like many Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck you know how devastating an emergency expense can be. Before you know it bills are going unpaid in order to try to get your head above water financially. However, things start to snowball and the problem just gets bigger and bigger. Before all is said and done you could have essential utilities turned off or you could find yourself evicted from your home. If you’re in a situation like that there may now be a place you could potentially turn to help you get out of that jam.

    The Atlantic recently ran an article about groups on social media called ‘blessings groups’ that are specifically designed to help people pay for emergency situations. Rather than trying to use a platform like GoFundMe many people go to these blessings groups in order to try to get donations to help pay for such expenses as minor car repair, baby formula, or an overdue bill. If you’re in a position to do so you can also join one of these groups to donate to people having emergencies. You don’t have to donate a lot either. In most cases, donations come in as little as $5-$10 until the person in need has enough to pay for their expense.

    Even though these groups are a big help to many there are still many pitfalls as scammers are said to have run rampant through many of these groups. Not only that but sometimes these groups can become petty and political leading not only to hurt feelings but also some people receiving no donations when they’re in desperate need of them.

    So if you find yourself in need you may want to turn to one of these groups but be warned that the experience may not be a pleasant one.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social media   

    Is public social media dying? 

    Is public social media dying?

    When social media first became a part of our culture back in the mid-2000s it seemed mostly fun and harmless. It became an easy way for us to either reconnect with old friends or stay in better contact with our family. While platforms like MySpace were not without its problems it was largely just for fun. But when MySpace became too ostentatious some social media users longed for a cleaner appearing network and that’s when Facebook started to become the juggernaut that it is today. However, on most current social networks, the climate has become toxic. Many social network users seem to have lost that filter that they would use in everyday life when talking to other people in their lives.

    It also doesn’t help that many of these platforms don’t do enough to discourage the bad behavior of its users. Just recently, Facebook deleted billions of fake and abusive accounts. A number which rivals its actual userbase. To make matters worse, Snapchat employees were recently accused of spying on users.

    Now, because of many of these factors, a number of social media users are turning to more private methods of keeping in touch. According to The Metro, more users are turning to niche networks like Nextdoor or starting private message groups within apps like Slack and Telegram.

    As long as there are brands, content creators or someone with a story to tell, there will always be a place for public social media. But as those platforms become more difficult to enjoy there may come a day where we branch off into our own little corners of the internet where the signal could be better separated from the noise.

     
  • Geebo 10:26 am on February 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adam Schiff, Andrew Wakefield, anti-vaxxers, , social media, vaccines   

    Should social media companies police anti-vaxx groups? 

    Should social media companies police anti-vaxx groups?

    There once was a time in this country when people were grateful for advancements in medical science such as the polio vaccine. People of a certain age still bare the small scar that the initial polio vaccines carried but such a small price to be paid to prevent such a horrible disease. Then in the late 1990s, a British doctor by the name of Andrew Wakefield publishes a study that alleged a link between childhood vaccines and autism. Even though Wakefield’s claims were quickly disproven that hasn’t stopped an entire movement of people who refuse to vaccinate their children over fears of their children becoming autistic. This movement has been dubbed by many as the Anti-Vaxx movement and has proliferated across the internet.

    Anti-Vaxx groups have found their core audience on places like Facebook and YouTube where their misinformation continues to find a top footing among the sites’ search algorithms. Because of that, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff wrote to both Google and Facebook requesting they take action claiming that these Anti-Vaxx groups are a “direct threat to public health” and that it undoes “progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.” Facebook responded by saying that they were looking into the matter. Meanwhile, pockets of outbreaks of diseases that were almost thought to have been eradicated have reemerged. So the question remains should companies like Facebook and Google do something about Anti-Vaxxer groups?

    Neither of these companies has to be a complete censorship tyrant when it comes to Anti-Vaxxing. However, due to the overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of vaccinating children against these preventable diseases, they can tweak their search algorithms to better promote more responsible content. Just in doing the research for this post, the Google search for Andrew Wakefield came up with more content about how Wakefield was supposedly maligned rather than being debunked. We realize that some people will never be shaken from their misguided belief that vaccines cause autism but if new people could be stopped from being indoctrinated into this dangerous belief then the better off our children and future generations will be.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , social media, University of Toledo   

    Univ. study shows links between social media and human trafficking 

    Univ. study shows links between social media and human trafficking

    The University of Toledo is an institution known for holding international conferences on human trafficking. So it should come as no surprise that they were asked by the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission to undertake a study on how social media is used in grooming human trafficking victims. Now you might be the type of person who would ask why a study like that would be needed since there have been plenty of instances where traffickers have found victims on social media. Well, the study goes a little deeper than that.

    The University’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute recently released the findings of their study which delves into the nitty-gritty about how traffickers groom their victims in order for parents to be more aware of the possible dangers. For example, the study lists the kind of language used by children that would attract human traffickers like “Nobody gets me”, “I am so ugly”, and “My life sucks”, to name a few. The study also gives tips to parents on what language the traffickers might use to gain the trust of their children such as “I’ll make your life better”, and “I’ll make you successful.”

    Dr. Celia Williamson, the founder of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, was quoted as saying…

    “Parents who are educated can wage a worthy defense against potential recruitment and recruitment of their youth online,” Williamson said. “Parents who work to build healthy, open and communicative relationships are more likely to have youth that share information about where they go and who they talk to online.”

    Talk to your kids about adults who try to lure them away from home with promises of money and fame. You may think you’re kids are too young to talk with them about dangers like this but the traffickers don’t think they’re too young at all. So you might want to have that talk with them before the traffickers do. You may also want to keep a close watch on their social media activity. You may trust your child with how they behave online but you can’t trust those looking to exploit them. It’s not a violation of trust if you check up on them but a matter of their protection.

     
  • Geebo 9:10 am on August 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social media,   

    Study identifies who is really harming democracy on Facebook 

    Study identifies who is really harming democracy on Facebook

    By now, we should all be familiar with the stories about how Facebook was allegedly used by foreign influencers and bad actors to try to sway the 2016 Presidential Election. This has been an ongoing issue even up to the recent 2018 Primary Elections. Many in positions of power have called upon Facebook to try to clamp down on this problem, but what if I told you that it wasn’t Russia that was the biggest threat to democracy on Facebook, but rather it was us?

    According to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin–Madison, social media users are less informed about politics than those who refrain from social media. The study contributes this to most social users only skimming their social media feeds rather than taking the time to process or even further pursue the veracity of the information.

    It also doesn’t help that social media is where people go to feel safe in their bubbles of convenience where they would rather regurgitate whatever latest meme fits into their political party loyalty or narrow worldview. If you think I’m singling out one side of the political spectrum over the other, I’m not as both sides of the aisle are guilty of this behavior. So while the typical Facebook user may think he or she is the political scholar in their circle of friends, the odds are they really aren’t and as long as people keep acting and thinking like this democracy will remain threatened from within.

     
  • Geebo 9:11 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social media   

    Your social media could hurt your job search 

    Your social media could hurt your job search

    I’m pretty sure we all have that friend who is totally unfiltered on social media. They act like social media is some kind of virtual bubble where their posts are self-contained inside of the platform not realizing that their posts could be viewed by almost anyone. Part of that anyone could be a prospective employer and those posts could potentially hurt your chances of finding a new job.

    According to a recent survey conducted by a job listing service, more than 70% of employers will check the social media profiles of potential applicants. So, if you’re posting pictures of drugs and alcohol, committing crimes, or anything that could be deemed offensive, you may not want to start dreaming of that corner office. Conversely, you might think that erasing all of your social media might be the way to go, but according to the survey that may as equally as harmful. A total lack of social presence may appear as if you have something to hide.

    While it may seem like common sense, it’s advised to carefully cultivate your social media presence. Highlight positive activities and don’t complain about your current position. If you succeed in getting your dream job that doesn’t mean you can start posting pictures of your weekend escapades as many employers continue to keep tabs on your social media. The basic philosophy should be that if you can’t say it at work, then you shouldn’t be posting it on Facebook.

     
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