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Cyber Security
What is Social Media? 

Social Media is a catch-all term that refers to a spectrum of websites and applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, and YouTube among others that allow people to communicate, collaborate, interact, and share content with other people over the internet. The large number of platforms that the term social media encompasses can be differentiated based on their specific purposes. For instance, Facebook that is chiefly designed to let people share their life updates and communicate with other people, usually referred to as their “friends”, is a social networking site, whereas, on the other hand, Twitter whose main purpose is to let people share their ideas or thoughts is called a microblogging platform. Similarly, there are content sharing social media sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, Bookmarking Sites like Pinterest, Flipboard, and Diggs, Social Review Sites like Yelp, and Community Blogs like Tumblr.  

History of Social Media  

If you are here reading this article, the odds are you are already well aware of the ubiquitous influence of social media in our lives today. Social media is how we get our news, it is how we majorly interact with our friends and family, it is how we keep our close ones up-to-date with our day to day happenings, and for some, it is how they conduct their business. We humans are social animals and even the most introverted of us crave social interaction. If anything, social media is even more loved by introverts as it eliminates the need to be physically present in a social environment to network and connect with people. 

The earliest notable social media platform i. e Six Degrees was created in 1997. It could be said to be a simple, basic version of the multifunctional Facebook that we know today. It allowed users to pick and put an icon on their profiles and communicate with other people over the web. It was in 1999 that blogging sites started to gain popularity, creating a social media buzz that’s still growing to this day. The evolution was then sped up by platforms such as MySpace and LinkedIn that ruled the social media movement of the early 2000s. Around the same time, sites such as Photobucket and Flickr that allowed photo-sharing continued to gain fame as well. YouTube debuted in 2005 and became an instant sensation. By 2006 social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter became available to people worldwide. These are some of the most famous and widely used social media platforms today. In the years that followed, platforms such as Tumblr, Spotify, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest began to sprout, each offering specific kinds of social media services.  

How commonly is social media used? 

As per data provided by DataReportal, there were roughly 4.48 billion Social Media users worldwide in July of 2020 which equates to 57% of the total world population. The data suggested that 9 in 10 internet users use social media each month. The numbers also showed that 520 million new users joined social media in the last 12 months from July 2020, which means an annualised growth rate of 13.1 per cent. It was also revealed that an average social media user visits about 6.6 different social media sites each month, spends an average of 2½ hours using social media every day, and has an average of 8-9 social accounts.  

The popularity of social media can also be gauged by the fact that there are almost 17 social media platforms with 300 Million or more active monthly users. The data provided by DataReportal displayed Facebook as the social networking leader with over 2.853 billion users. This means that more than a quarter of the globe’s 7 billion people use Facebook each month. Moreover, Facebook reported about 1.9 billion daily active users during the 2nd quarter of 2021. (source). Additionally, every day more than 300 million photos are uploaded and every minute about 510,000 comments and 293,000 statuses are posted on Facebook. (source)  

In the popularity race, YouTube comes second with an advertising reach of 2.291 billion. (DataReportal). As per official stats by YouTube, it generates billions of views every day and about one billion hours of video footage is watched daily. WhatsApp is the third most popular social media platform with around 2 billion active monthly users. Additionally, every minute there are 527,760 photos shared on Snapchat, 4,146,600 videos watched on YouTube, 456,000 tweets made, 46,740 Instagram photos posted, 16 million text messages sent, 990,000 Tinder swipes, 156 million emails sent, and 154,200 calls made on Skype. (source)  

It’s made evident by various statistical facts that social media is powerful and it is here to stay. It has continued to show an unprecedented growth rate. Every year millions of users join it and most of which end up becoming active and regular users. Now let’s take a look at why we think it’s so popular and why its popularity only continues to grow. 

Why is social media so popular? 

Until just a few decades ago social media didn’t even exist and today you’d be hard-pressed to find a single person who doesn’t have a social media account. So what is it that makes it so irresistible to everyone? 

1) Boundless opportunities to connect with people worldwide: To an average human social media is bound to be riveting and very exciting. Why? In their lifetime an average person has very limited opportunities to get acquainted with a person or people from a foreign country, let alone multiple people from different geographical backgrounds. But with social media, which has millions and even billions of active users from all over the world, the average person has boundless opportunities to not only talk with people from different countries but also befriend them. How crazy is that? Well, not very to the average internet user of our time. 

2) Allows us to be part of groups of our interest: Imagine you are a K-pop (Korean Pop) music enthusiast and naturally wish to share your opinions and stay in touch with other similar fans. Now in real-life scenarios, it would be a task requiring a significant amount of research skills, efforts, time, and dedication for you to find people that share your interest and form a group with them where you can have discussions regarding your interests. In a digital setting, however, all you would have to do is do a quick search with the hashtag Kpop on any social media platform and you’d have the option to join multiple communities based specifically on your interest. If you are a stock market enthusiast you can join a stock market group, or if you suffer from a lifelong illness and would like to stay in touch with other people who are living with your condition you can find a group for that on Facebook too. 

3) Social Media is user-friendly: Almost every social media platform is extremely easy to use. Anyone with the most basic level of digital technology knowledge can use it without any issues. Today people who haven’t used computers in their lives are using social media apps with no difficulty. Additionally, most social media platforms come with mobile apps that make it even more convenient and easy to use and manage your social media accounts. 

4) Social Media Marketing: When discussing social media, we can’t ignore the profound effect it has had on business and marketing in particular. The internet has become a key tool in making businesses better understand how and where to market their products and services. User data today is a highly valuable asset to businesses worldwide that is used to track and identify user behaviour patterns, interests, and market trends. Using this data, businesses can advertise watches only to the people that have recently shown an interest in buying a watch by either visiting a related page on Google or viewing a related video on YouTube. You may have noticed that the ads that you get on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are rarely random. 

Is Social Media A Threat To Your Privacy?

Social Media for the major part is meant to be a digital space to share information, most of which is personal. When you make your private information available to the whole wide world, there’s bound to be some drawbacks. But that’s far from the only kind of threat to your privacy on social media. Hackers on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have developed a new kind of phishing scam where they send infected links directly via DMs (direct message). Most of the time, to be able to use an additional service, social media users end up voluntarily providing scammers and their third-party apps with permission to send messages via their accounts.  

Scammers use this permission to send infected links to other accounts in the victims’ social media circle. People on receiving links from someone they trust usually end up becoming victims themselves. Sometimes these kinds of mistakes result in an account getting hacked or private info becoming public (or doxxing). Besides this, there’s always the risk of getting stalked or harassed online. Additionally, there’s a whole data-selling business where data regarding your online activity (without your direct consent) is sold to businesses so that they can use it to market their products to you accordingly.  

What can you do to protect your social media presence?

1) Many social media platforms these days allow their users to choose to disable personalized ads and additional data sharing with their business partners. It’s a useful way for you to hide your online activity.  

2) Limit your usage of your social media on unreliable, public devices such as computer systems at a cyber café, office computer systems, or public wifi. If you absolutely have to, afterwards make sure to log out and clear your history. 

3) Choosing strong passwords is a must if you do not want your social media accounts to be hacked. Do not use the same password on multiple accounts. 

4) On all your social media profiles, even the private ones, keep your personal information to a minimum and make sure to hide your personal phone number. 

5) Use two-factor authentication to provide your social media accounts with additional protection. 


Social media security is used widely today which makes it an important aspect of cybersecurity. Maybe your employees are using it on their office systems and inadvertently letting in malicious actors. There are several things an individual can do to enhance social media security, as explained above. But at an organizational level, enterprises require expert solutions to prevent attacks originating from social media use. We at Gemraj Technologies are equipped with the capabilities and resources required to secure your business against all kinds of cybersecurity attacks. We provide smart threat detection and comprehensive protection in addition to other necessary cybersecurity services. 

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