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NEWS | Feb. 5, 2020

Learn to use social media safely

By Jonathan Letarde U.S. Army Reserve Command G-34/Antiterrorism

Social media has changed the way we communicate and share information with the world.  It helps us learn, share experiences with others and stay connected to people we care about.  Social networking sites enjoy worldwide popularity, underscoring the need to understand potential risks associated with the use of these sites.

Most Soldiers, civilians and family members use the internet every day and we may become complacent when it comes to online safety practices.  We encourage everyone to be aware of suspicious activity and malicious attempts to acquire your personal information. 

A person's online activities may inadvertently expose excessive information about their identity, location, relationships and affiliations, creating an increased risk of identity theft, stalking, or targeted violence.  Soldiers, civilians, and family members continue to be the target of would-be harm doers and the damage they cause may take years to recover from. 

With this in mind, Army Reserve members are encouraged to take the proper precautions to protect themselves from online criminal activity.  Exposing Personally Identifiable Information (PII), engaging in illicit activity or online gambling may put you at a higher risk of extortion.

To better protect yourself from risk, don’t post anything you would be embarrassed to see on the evening news.  We remind everyone to think of any post as a permanent one.  It can be extremely difficult to remove any content once you post it.  So think twice before clicking and sharing any information on social media platforms.  Also, be cautious about the images you post.  What is in them may be more revealing than who is in them.  Images posted over time may form a complete mosaic of you and your family.  In addition, do not allow others to tag you in images they post.  Doing so makes you easier to locate and accurately construct your network of friends, relatives and associates.

The use of social media has transformed the way we connect with the world.  It can be an awesome experience as long as you take the prudent measures to minimize risk to you and your family.  Protect your privacy by not accepting friend requests from people you don’t know and avoid using third-party applications.  The internet can be an incredible way to compliment your life, providing many conveniences and instant access to a variety of services.  Just remember to be cognizant of the sites you visit and surf the web safely! 

For more information regarding safe online practices, please visit the U.S. Army CID site to track current threats at:  https://www.cid.army.mil/