Now that Social Media is integrated into business and individual daily communications, our ability to exchange information and digital content with all our friends, followers and stakeholders is instantaneous. This significant benefit of engagement with these stakeholders comes with a downside and that is our personal or business reputation can also be damaged instantaneously.
The media is awash with examples of malicious use of social media. We often hear of high profile individuals’ reputations being damaged, whether they be from the worlds of sports, entertainment, politics, business or elsewhere. We also know of brands that have been damaged by mis-use of social media.
There are two main areas of issue:-
- Identity Fraud or Theft
- Message tampering
Identity Fraud relates to known or unknown persons or entities mis-representing themselves as someone else, or some other entity (Band, Association, Company, Organisation). Having adopted a false identity they then communicate misinformation that as a minimum may be misleading and disruptive and at worst be libellous and cause serious if not fatal damage to a reputation. Regardless of the extent of the misrepresentation there is a cost to those affected.
Message Tampering is the situation where what is communicated and interpreted has been changed either accidentally or maliciously. The ability even of the amateur hacker to change digital content is strong, given the nature of digital content, and the professional hacker can make changes and leave no record or evidence.
The bottom line is it’s relatively easy to adopt a false identity and to change digital data, text and tweets.