Not all social networks are online, but the ones Blendapps helps you make are – and online is not a uniformly safe place to be. There are three options: stay off-line; go online and take a chance; or go online and do everything possible to protect the network and its members.
The first is no longer a possibility and the second is foolish – so that leaves number three.
There are two major threats: technical and social. A social networking site is, in effect, just another website – but one that allows all members, and that may be a vast number, to post anything they like. Of course, network managers will hope that they attract only people with common interests and that one of those interests will be not harming other members. We have to remember though that it only takes one bad apple.
What if a member attaches to a post a piece of malware that will infect the computer of any member who opens it? Someone did that to the social network MySpace in 2005 and within an hour had infected hundreds of thousands of people.
Malefactors on the Internet are numerous because they see opportunities to profit from others – indeed, to prey on them. They are also constantly improving their techniques. Platforms like Blendapps do everything they can to protect users – but there is always the risk that some previously unknown worm or Trojan will get past the filters. And, of course, every network should issue advice to its members on how to protect themselves.
Contact Blendapps for advice on the forms this protection should take.
And then there are the social threats and dealing with those is a matter of combining vigilance with speed in response. Make sure you provide a facility for any user to draw attention to any post they feel should not be there. Have a policy on what is allowed and what is not and remember that a policy that is not policed is the same as no policy at all.