Social media – are you mature enough to use it?

By Kilausuria Abdullah And Farah Ramlee

Connecting with others and sharing items can now be done in a matter of seconds. With social media, there are no more excuses why we cannot easily reach each other.

As social media grows in popularity, we should keep in mind two important things about it: the real people who use it and their social interaction. Every social media has its own interactions to make people believe and trust in its service.

Three quality attributes, namely interaction, believe and trust, make people enjoy using the social media application that they are using.

Social media is a medium for people to get connected and have social activities using multiple social media tools in a networked environment. There are many different forms of social media technologies including magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, social networks, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking.

Some of the prominent examples are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, email, blogs, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.

Benefits of social media

There are many benefits to using social media. Apart from uniting people, social media can also be profitable for the business environment. Here are some benefits:

  1. Most types of social media services are free of charge. Of course, this would be a main factor for why people love them.

  1. Personal perception: easy access to information, can share same interests, keeping in touch, interactive communication medium, good opportunities to find jobs, and low costs.

  1. Business perception: create business personality, entice customers with discounts, brings customers closer with geolocation, connect with other businesses, quick feedback/results, learning customer preferences, and low costs.

  1. Drive web traffic directly to website/blog/articles.

Problems arising

There are also problems that arise from the misuse of social media:

  1. Scammers will make use of the social media to execute fraud business and marketing using legitimate company name and may damage users, company and product reputation.

  1. Cyber bullies abuse the features of social media to harm, harass or degrade other users. This can hurt the mental and physical health of individuals.

  1. Social media can be a medium to collect personal data without the owner’s permission for malicious intentions.

  1. An undisciplined employee would misuse working hours on social media for personal matters hence, affecting the productivity of the employee. MyCERT (A service by CyberSecurity Malaysia at where the public can report computer security incidents) incident statistics show that between January and December 2012, the number of cyber harassment incidents decreased. However, the incidents increased to new levels from March till September 2013. The landscape has changed drastically due to new techniques created by perpetrators in abusing social media.

Case study

Modus operandi

Based on cyber security incidents reported to the Cyber999 Help Centre operated by CyberSecurity Malaysia, the current trend of perpetrators is to begin by searching and browsing profiles available for public viewing on Facebook. Once the target victim is identified, the culprit will make a request to be friends with the target victim until accepted.

Some people would easily fall for this act and believe that the culprit genuinely has good intentions to be friends with them. Facebook would perform searches and suggest friends you might know. Once the victim accepts the request, the two parties will continue to communicate through the Facebook message application until the victim willingly reveals his/her other social media accounts to communicate such as Skype, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ.

Eventually the victim will be talked into using video calls in chat based on the virtual mutual trust they have built. While video-conferencing, the culprit would secretly record the video without permission. The culprit would then use the video to blackmail the victim for a large sum of money, to be paid via bank transfers or telegraphic transfer.

These are the counter measures that can be taken by victims and potential victims:

  1. Ignore the threats. Do not respond to the perpetrator. Do not make any attempt to communicate with him/her as this will serve to further propagate the scam activity.

  1. File a police report at the nearest police station with all the relevant evidence.

  1. Do not transfer the money through any means. If payment has been made through a bank, report to the bank with the police report.

  1. Report the incident to the administrators of the social media which is involved in the incident.

  1. Report to [email protected].

Best practices for using social media

It is recommended for everyone to use the following best practices while enjoying the benefits of using social media:

  1. Before you open an account, re-check and understand the social media policy of the site (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others).

  1. Before posting any comment/pictures, beware of whom you are sharing with. Get the information you need to control your sharing on social media. Clarify and understand what is outlined in the Privacy Policy of any social media you join.

  1. Find out the reporting/supporting procedure that is provided by each social media site and how to report abuse.

  1. Use caution when you click on links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social website.

  1. For more information on security awareness in using social media, visit


Be aware and understand the advantages and disadvantages of using social media. A proper policy and procedure is already in place for most types of social media on the Internet. Whether to obey or disobey the rules depends on your maturity as a user.


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