The advantages of using social media also comes with a warning sign. Breach of users’ security and identity are the common cyber issues we hear on the news every day. We put in passwords and e-mail accounts in a lot of websites, the common ones being Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. We also accept the condition to store our history in those websites as ‘cookies’. A netizen term “scrubbing” seems to have taken over the minds of social media users as the solution to manage one’s online reputation. However, can we completely delete our online information from those social media platforms? David Choffnes, a professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at the Northeastern University, weighed in on whether this method is an effective and realistic way to manage and improve an online reputation.
According to Choffnes, the term “scrubbing” is a misnomer. “It’s more like adding another coat of paint on top of your tarnished online reputation,” he said.
Nobody can guarantee you that whatever you have provided on the Web will get erased completely. You could’ve posted some racial joke five years ago but there is a high chance that it will surface back. Because you forget, the internet doesn’t. The easiest platforms where such issues take place are the one we visit the most like Instagram and Facebook. Cyber criminals can create dozens of fake accounts to humiliate their enemies. Moreover, social media is such a platform where rumours and fake news travel faster than the speed of light. You can try to stop this spread, but there is rarely any victory over it. Choffnes advised to precisely provide your information in the most trusted situations because no one can guarantee that there won’t be any identity theft or mishaps in the social media platforms designed by our most trusted companies and designers.
While ‘scrubbing’ may not be the most reliable solution of saving or managing one’s online reputation, it is always better to practise utmost security and privacy while filling out any information in any social media platforms or anywhere on the internet.