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Security and Social Media: Trouble Ahead?

Posted by hlg123 on May 24, 2013

An article posted on yesterday, “Twitter tightens security after recent hacking spate,” reminded me of our brief discussion in class this week about online security and the way(s) in which it influences/interferes with our behavior on social media platforms.  The article indicates that recent high-profile attacks on Twitter accounts, such as the recent hacking of the Associated Press’ account, have put security on social media platforms under greater scrutiny. So, will these high-profile security threats have a longterm effect on the credibility of these social media platforms?

In my opinion, Twitter’s popularity has largely stemmed from its ability to foster a large-scale community of opinion leaders and influencers. Journalists, thought leaders, innovators, and celebrities thrive on this platform because it is an optimal online platform to connect these influencers to their audiences. To me, Twitter seems particularly vulnerable to these online security threats for this very reason. If the authenticity and credibility of its content is called into question, will the content on this medium become less credible, and will its users feel less confident using Twitter because of these perceived security risks?

I personally don’t see these types of hacking incidents as having a lasting impact on the platform or its users, but I do think examining how public perception is affected by incidents likes these does warrant some additional thought. If, for instance, an ABC News television broadcast was hacked and disseminated false information, I think the ramifications would be quite severe. While recent security breaches on Twitter have received international coverage, does the current somewhat subdued reaction to these security breaches indicate that information on these platforms is considered to be inherently less credible than news on more traditional mediums? I think the answer to this will depend on how credible the content on Twitter is perceived to be in the next few years, which in turn largely depends on Twitter’s ability to curtail security breaches like this in the future.

–Hannah Griffin


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