Anonymity on Social Media

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Sometime back I read that a girl went missing after she went to meet someone whom she met online. There were few more such cases were reported. These cases have put a question mark on being anonymous or hiding your identity on social media. What are the intentions behind this? Why women are the target of cybercrimes?

Rise in internet users sees rise in cybercrimes at an alarming rate. Digital media gives an opportunity to people to extend their reach to the entire world, both professionally and personally. Social media gives women a tool to share their success or problems stories with the world. Ironically, on the other hand it has made life of women insecure with rising cybercrimes.

Harassment, morphing, cyber-stalking, defamation are the few crimes committed against women in the digital world.  Mostly these offences are committed with revenge mentality or just to play a prank. The nature of social media is such that you can easily or with less efforts obtain personal information about others. Generally, all the sites allow users to put comment as anonymous. Even on sites where you need to have your name and other personal details, people can fake their identity. Once it is faked then with the help of technology you can become almost untraceable. This boosts the confidence of cybercriminals. Usually, people from your friend circle, office colleagues or family members are behind these crimes. Studies proves that women prefer not to report these crimes for social repercussions.

It will take time to protect ourselves in this ever changing world of social media. Till that time, we need to be careful about what information we put in public domain, as well as whom we disclose the information. ‘DO NOT TRUST’ any stranger is the main key of safety. Most importantly do not hesitate to report these crimes to law enforcing agencies.

(Published in Gulf News on Friday 15th July 2016. Read here)

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