Keeping Safe on Blipfoto
Hello fellow blippers,
In my day job I’m involved a lot in Online Safety, and sadly that means I spend a lot of time worrying about bad stuff that happens on the internet.
Blipfoto generally doesn’t have to worry about this too much – it’s a tight-knit community which subscribes to the “be excellent to each other” principle so we have a relatively little in the way of safety issues directly on the site. Relatively little isn’t zero though.
With recent stories in the press about various online safety issues it feels like a good time to remind ourselves that most images and text (and locations if you use that feature) posted on Blipfoto are essentially public. This means that anyone (whether a member of Blipfoto or not) can see the content we create. The exception is if your journal is set to private, in which case it is only visible to those you allow to follow you.
When blipping it’s wise to consider whether we are giving away information about where we live, work or go to school for ourselves, our families, and other people we identify in our journals. More generally, are we sharing personal information that could be used to clone our identity for fraud?
Information leakage can be cumulative. I might not care that people can work out where I live from one journal entry, or for people to know I am on holiday from another entry. These individually seem like harmless pieces of information. But a burglar could use that information to work out that my home was empty for them to break in to…
People may also see our images in different ways to those we intend. Sadly there are many people out there who find sexual interest in images you or I would find perfectly innocent, particularly those of women or children. There is no magic solution to blocking such people from a public site, or even to stopping people joining and following accounts or favouriting images. On occasion behaviour that seems creepy or sinister is flagged to us (please, raise a support ticket if you spot something) and when that happens we take appropriate action. We don’t have the resources to actively police everything that happens on the site and activity via public links and search engines is all but impossible to police anyway.
Our private journal feature offers you a lower risk alternative, albeit one that loses some of the benefits of being part of the wider community.
Blipfoto is generally a very friendly and safe environment, but we should all be considering what we post carefully to make sure it isn’t likely to have unintended and undesirable consequences.
P.S. Much of this advice is applicable to any social media site you use!