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Your Social Media Alias Could be Tracked Back to You

The Drum

The problem with social media is that some of the things you say and do online are things you do not want to be linked to you. Whether you don't want people at work to know you're on Tinder or whether you don't want your family to see your Instagram, there are bound to be social media services where you stick to an alias. However if you geotag posts then I'm afraid your alias might not be so secret.

A recent report done by Columbia University and Google has found that if you share geotagged posts on even two accounts then enough data can be gathered to link your account back to you. This seems rather obvious in some ways. If you post on Facebook about hanging out somewhere and then post photos from your day on Instagram then it can be linked together. Or even worse if you post a lot on multiple apps from home then you'll have a constant location. Most of the time this shouldn't be a worry but it has been possible in the past for people to find out the addresses of Craigslist users from their listings. Even if you turn geotagging off IBM found in 2014 that it could be possible to find a user's location with around 58% accuracy through Twitter.

So is this suggesting you should never use an alias because you'll get caught? No, Columbia and Google did create an algorithm to test this out but that doesn't mean it'll be in regular use. Your boss probably isn't going to actually care what you do on Tinder or post on Instagram unless it affects your work or would somehow shine a negative light on the business. All this study was really, was a warning about geotagging. I'd have honestly thought that people would be aware of the dangers of it. Letting everyone and anyone know where you are or where you go regularly is a risky thing. You might think it might be useful for stalking potential partners and finding out where they hang out but what if someone unsavoury decides they want to find you? It's not difficult to link your Tinder account to your Facebook and through that you can basically find everything even if you do use fake names. With this information someone could easily find you and they wouldn't even need a fancy algorithm.

What this report is suggesting is that you turn geotagging off where you can. With dating apps like Tinder it's necessary but people on Facebook don't need to know where you are because if they actually interact with you, they should know that anyway. Same with Instagram and any strangers who wonder about you on there can just appreciate your photography. You always need to be careful about what you share online and your location is one of those things you should be extra careful about.



Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @Songbird_Rosina


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Your Social Media Alias Could be Tracked Back to You Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Friday, April 15, 2016 Rating: 5

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