Social network security

We all sleep soundly assuming our tweets are read only by those we follow, that our tagged photos from Thanksgiving break are seen only by our friends.
…We also sleep soundly assuming #FueledByRamen and “Monday Night” trending topics are about as heavy as Twitter gets, and hiding red cups from parents and future employers are the biggest Facebook worries.

But a New York Daily News story ran Sunday revealing a darker side to Twitter: Manhattan’s gangs have turned to the social networking site to coordinate gangbangs and throwdowns:

[The knowledge that the world can listen in on the conversation] can actually fuel disputes. A heated exchange between rivals on the service can turn into a full-fledged beef when others get wind, he said.

A 15-year-old nicknamed Lil V, who belongs to The New Dons, says Twitter is useful for “settin’ up the fights” and making plans.

Although some gangs keep their pages private, a feature Twitter offers, the “Daily News” says the NYPD gang intelligence unit is keeping tabs on Web activity.

“It is another tool … just like old phone records,” a police source said in the story.

Twitter: as safe as we think?

And while it hasn’t been directly connected by investigators, widely followed video podcaster Israel Hyman (@izzyvideo) came home from a tweeted-about weekend vacation to find his house burglarized this summer, according to Mashable.

Do you consider safety–or the other end of the spectrum, privacy–when tweeting or updating Facebook, or have we been instilled with a false sense of security when using the Internet, especially social networking?

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4 responses to “Social network security

  1. This is just ridiculous. Using Twitter to set people up? Somehow I can’t imagine Al Capone doing anything like that. It’s just stupid.

    I think it’s great that Twitter’s helping police track this activity, but shouldn’t they actually be out there actually stopping it?

    • Good point Whitley!

      I was thinking more along the lines that I still feel safe online. Though gangs might be using Twitter and other technology to further their aims, I don’t think I am endangered by this. They will always use the tools available to them, and hopefully this doesn’t affect me.

    • Yeah, it’s filed under ‘pretty freaking stupid’ in my book.

      I don’t know how quickly police see a tweet and speed out of the station with their lights on, but the story does talk about outreach volunteers who intervened before a tweet-war turned into a street-war. That’s pretty powerful.

  2. This is wildly interesting to me–and scary. Social media has definitely affected EVERY part of our lives, even including those darker aspects of society we’d rather not think about. This is a fascinating post. Thanks, Holly!

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