Do I really need anyone to guess whether or not I saw Journey, Flock of Seagulls and Ratt in concert at some point in my life? That was the big question on Facebook this week as you no doubt ran across those random “10 concerts I’ve been to, one is a lie” lists from friends in your news feed.
But setting aside musical taste and your own willingness to participate in — or criticize — the sharing phenomenon, The New York Times raised another interesting theory regarding such social media activity: is it a threat to individuals’ online security and privacy?
Security experts who spoke to The Times said revealing answers to questions like those posed by the 10 concerts thing might be too similar to security questions we sometimes encounter on banking websites and elsewhere. Depending on the Facebook list or quiz, you could be tipping your password hand. Perhaps it’s best to make something up when asked questions such as, “What was your first grade teacher’s name?” the story cautions.
But while that risk is low, the threat to privacy is more realistic. Telling the internet that you saw Led Zeppelin in the mid-1970s could open you up to marketers looking to target ads to specific age groups and so on.
National security and privacy expert Mark Testoni told The Times that he recommended exercising “vigilance bordering on a little paranoia” in online posts.
But that advice could be like dragging the needle across the record for a society that has become so accustomed to sharing location at every stop and personal taste and opinion regarding everything from food to politics.