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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

How Social Networks Are Trying to Curb Illegal Activity

Social media has fast turned into a primary means for individuals of all ages to communicate with one another. From parents checking in on their kids who are away at school, to family members connecting over long distances via family photos, social media provides a sense of connection to those who are miles apart. People even use social networks to help them find love, proving that the positive benefits of modern online media are seemingly endless.

However, not everything that goes down on social networks like Facebook or Twitter is completely beneficial. In fact, some users of the popular social media application Instagram – which is actually owned by Facebook – have found ways to pedal not just distasteful images and messages but even to engage in illegal activity.

A recent blog by entrepreneur and blogger Nick Drewe that was analyzed by the Huffington post found that Instagram has taken steps to block numerous terms that users can be searched using the popular “hashtag” message, which entails a phrase preceded by the pound (#) symbol.

Terms such as #nude, #weed and even #iPhone have all been banned by the company so that users can’t search for the obvious photos, or, in the case of #weed, potential sellers, that these hashtags turn up.

In fact, there was other recent controversy surrounding the term “#gunsforsale,” which it appears people were searching to illegally purchase firearms without attaining the proper paperwork from unlicensed salesmen.

There are also other dangers posed by these sites that are related to identity theft, as oversharing personal identification information can lead to an opportunistic viewer using it to open up accounts or order goods in your name. If you have Instagram, invest into a service to help protect you from identity theft so that if you accidentally overshare on social media, a second set of eyes will be watching over the financial activity taking place in your name.