Social media and privacy: Are we even safe?

Photo Illustration by: Maya Lange

Photo Illustration by: Maya Lange

Maya Lange, Staff Writer

In a time where you can find almost anything out about someone with just a few taps on a screen, kidnappers, murderers and sex-traffickers are able to get to people much easier. In November of 2017, Sydney Loofe, a 24-year-old woman who lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, went on a date with someone who she met on Tinder. The woman that she was going out with had “catfished” Loofe on Tinder and abducted her after their “date,” along with the help of a man. Loofe was later found dead.

This terrifying story is, unfortunately, not uncommon. A lot of people use social media to find too much out about people, and in extreme cases, to kidnap or even kill them. This is why we need to be more careful with what we put on social media and who we trust on dating apps. Giving location or personal details about your life out could really hurt you later.

Almost everything we do is being monitored these days, and many people lack a sense of privacy. Not only do many apps track your whereabouts, who your friends are, what you do for fun, where you work and when school starts every day, but so does everyone else in your life.

At any given moment, hundreds of people could be tracking your location through different apps, looking at all of your posts on Instagram, scrolling through your Facebook friends and seeing your latest pictures on Vsco.

Many people are concerned with the idea of stalking in person, but we, as a society, have become so used to internet stalking, that no one thinks twice about it. Whether you’re checking someone’s location through Snapchat’s Snap Map, or looking at something that someone’s stepfather’s aunt’s granddaughter posted three years ago on Facebook, you’re finding things out about these people that you never would’ve otherwise known. Is that good, or does it create a world where we sit behind screens instead of talking to people and forming connections?

We need to think twice before we let all of our Snapchat friends see us on Snap Map, or before we Tweet paragraphs about super controversial topics. Anything that goes on the internet stays there, even after you delete it, and you would be surprised what a complete stranger can find out about you in 20 minutes, even if they only know your first name and the state you live in to begin with.

It’s scary that we don’t have any privacy. Something that you did when you were just a freshman in high school could affect you for the rest of your life. Your future employers can find out every little detail of who you used to be and what you used to do. Is anyone even safe anymore? Having people’s locations and screenshots of text messages or embarrassing posts can lead to much easier sex trafficking, kidnapping and blackmail.

Everyone should take a step back and think before we share. Our phones may be our connection to the world, but we don’t want the whole world to know every little detail about us.