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How to Stay Private in a Public World

Published on March 4, 2022, at 2:38 p.m.
by Kyrsten Eller.

When it comes to digital and social media, it can be difficult to stay private in the public eye, which can make users on any site an easy target for scammers. However, with the continuous advancements of technology, there are various protection tips that people can follow in order to ensure safety.

With the digital world of public relations, the strategies that PR professionals take to promote safety are necessary in order to build long-term relationships with their consumers. As stated in an article from PR Daily, “Consumers today generally distrust brands to use their data ethically.” In order for PR professionals to maintain a long-term relationship with their consumers, they need to understand the importance of safety from a consumer’s perspective.

Photo by Nathana Rebouças on Unsplash

Comparing features between different apps
LinkedIn is a job networking company that continues to innovate its technology so it can take necessary precautions for scammers and hackers. According to LinkedIn employee Martin Manosalvas, the company is investing in several efforts to create a safe and welcoming environment for members.

LinkedIn does not tolerate any spam or unprofessional behavior. It gives its audience multiple ways to report any inappropriate actions. “They have to pride themselves as a company,” explained Manosalvas. “They’ve been encouraging members to report conversations, posts, fake profiles, comments and those trying to violate the terms and conditions.”

Companies that actively take action to create a safe environment will be more successful. There are a variety of ways as to how users can ensure safety. According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, some of the most important tips for being an active user on social media are to be cautious of sharing too much, using privacy settings and verifying the people you connect with beforehand.

On LinkedIn’s site, Manosalvas said, “we offer a ton of resources to be able to equip our members on how to be aware of scammers, how to identify them on the spot and then the steps of what to do about it.”

It can be dangerous when it comes to sharing immoderate information and details on professional or social networking sites. However, it can be just as dangerous on dating sites.

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Bumble, an online dating application, has continued to improve its technology in order to combat cat-fishers and fraud. University of Alabama Panhellenic President Hannah Hale noted that Bumble encourages constant communication for those on the app. Hale has worked with Bumble in the past and said it has “features on Bumble where you can FaceTime beforehand as well as an automatic screening feature in the messages so a user’s account can be put on hold and reported for sending something inappropriate.”

LinkedIn is constantly improving its site with the advancement of technology. One improvement made is the ability to prevent discriminatory job postings. The company’s automated fake account defense systems are put in place in order to prevent and immediately remove jobs that violate the terms and conditions. “When users are looking to post jobs, there is a lot of information that you need to submit to get approved to post a job,” explained Manosalvas. “You have to be able to prove that your company is credible, and there’s regulations you have to go through.”

On the other hand, Bumble has an additional service, Bumble BFF, where people are able to make new friends. According to Hale, “people do have issues on this outlet because [some] will still use it as a dating app, and that’s something that could be improved because lines do get crossed.”

PR implications
The public relations industry is extremely digital, and because of that, PR professionals should understand how to actively implement safety to create a lasting bond with their consumers. Personalization is the “new standard of the modern brand-consumer relationship.” According to an article from PR Daily, personalization can increase customer engagement with brands and increase revenue, creating a favorable environment for companies to conduct business.

According to a Forbes survey, “40% of executives report that their customer personalization efforts have a direct impact on driving more sales.” The idea of personalization is recommended for PR professionals living through the digital age, so they can further understand their audiences and target to them more effectively.

Some ways as to how popular sites and apps can implement safety include using a VPN privacy service, actively implementing firewalls and utilizing a two-factor authentication system, allowing their consumers to deepen their trust.

Implementing specific strategies for safety and getting necessary messaging across platforms are essential for any company. Appropriate messaging will allow an organization’s audience to further put their trust in a brand.

One of the biggest strategies currently for LinkedIn is encouraging its users to report any skeptical encounters. According to LinkedIn Corporate Communications, “New technology is helping us detect fake profiles. In the first quarter of 2019, we were able to identify thousands of fake profiles, and we continue strengthening our detection backbone, and removing these profiles on behalf of our members.”

Photo by Dan Nelson on Unsplash

As for Bumble, there are safety reminders in the terms and conditions to which new members can agree before signing up. This is an effective messaging strategy the app uses to promote safety. The screening feature the app has established is a strategy to monitor messages. Users are able to report an account, and once an account is reported, “the account is under investigation, so you can be kicked off and won’t be able to catfish anyone else,” said Hale.

Overall, social media is constantly improving safety features with the consistent advancements in technology. “No company is perfect when it comes to safety,” stated Manosalvas. “It’s interesting to see what companies are doing to innovate and adopt new technology.”

When creating online profiles, no matter what the case may be, users should ensure they are keeping personal information private. With the innovative updates in safety and messaging, digital and social media companies can create safer places for their users to interact.

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