‘Who’s Creeping You?’

By Alyssa Winn –

Computers, iPads, and smart phones make it easy for people to expose their digital data. Wednesday was Privacy Day, set aside to educate people about protecting their digital footprints.

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) hosted a presentation titled “Who’s Creeping You” in Tarleton’s Dick Smith Library on Wednesday about how to protect personal digital data. From people’s accounts being attacked and hijacked by bots (click here for more on that) to leaving a digital trail straight to your doorstep, there are many ways that people need to be careful when online these days.

Tarleton students Bree Kingston, Victoria Greer, and Becca Escobar – all TSMRI interns — led the presentation.

TSMRI Interns (from left) Becca Escobar, Victoria Greer and Bree Kingston present

TSMRI Interns (from left) Becca Escobar, Victoria Greer and Bree Kingston present “Who’s Creeping You?” on Wednesday. (Alyssa Winn/Texan News Service)

Kingston, the head intern of TSMRI, said the institute’s main purpose “is to teach businesses and educators about how to use social media.

“A lot of people are scared of social media and some don’t know how to use it,” she said. “Kids these days are basically born with iPhones or Androids in their hands. TSMRI just wants to educate about these sites that will protect people from harm that could affect them if they are not careful.”

One of the main websites that was discussed during the event was Spokeo. This site is a people search website that shows what’s available about a person on the Internet. All one has to do is type in a username, email address, or a name to find that person.

The speakers also showed iPhone apps, such as Highlight and FindAnyone, to find information about people on the Internet and how you can get rid of the information about you on the website or app.

Another topic that was discussed is the Facebook Graph Search. Kingston showed the audience that this new Facebook product makes it easier to find people who share similar interests.

TSMRI also offered a quick, five-point social media privacy check up:

  1. Check your smart phone or tablet once in a while to see if the location-based data is enabled, if you do not want others to know your location then change it to disable.
  2. See what is available about you on the Internet. Search your full name on a search engine like Google.
  3. Make sure that your passwords are strong in order to prevent a hacked account.
  4. Check Facebook and Twitter accounts and delete any applications that you have allowed access that you do not need.
  5. Watch for news updates about data privacy and warnings.

For more information about staying safe online go to www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/ To learn more about Texas Social Media Research Institute and find more information on these apps and sites visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/TSMRI.


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