Friday, September 17, 2010

Protecting Your Social Media Profile Against Text Spam

On April 29, 2010, I stated why the Social Media Privacy Protection Act is needed. I reiterated my position again on July 25, 2010. I did not wake up thinking about privacy issues. However, when I logged into my Google account this morning, I received the message, "What would happen if you lost access to your Google Account tomorrow?" The screen listed my email address and requested my cell phone number in case I need to reset my password.

In my opinion, password resets via cell phone SMS is a ruse to obtain access to your cell phone number so the number may be used at a later date to perform mobile marketing. Social Media companies are trying to collect as much information about their users as possible because they are building a monetizable data bank. As the Brits may say, "brilliant."

Google may argue that a cell phone number is the easiest and most secure way for a consumer to obtain a password reset. I disagree. The best way to do this is via email and/or a personal security question. Google recently fired an employee for accessing the personal accounts of its users. Just think of all the possibilities when private companies (not the government-whole different conversation) have access to this type of personal information.

Social Media companies are trying to entice their users to turn over as much of their personal information as possible. Unfortunately, too many consumers are freely providing Social Media companies their information without a second thought. For example, there is no reason for any company to ask for or for anyone to list their religion on their social media profile.

When I recently tried assisting a friend of mine with obtaining a personal URL for his Facebook account it requested a cell phone number for confirmation. When I obtained my personal URL soon after consumers were allowed to do so I did not need to provide a cell phone number. Social Media companies want your cell phone number so they can monetize this information.

The bottom line is that people need to be careful about providing any data to third parties. Do you really want to be bombarded at some point in the future with spam text messages that you will have to pay for? Therefore, unless a company needs your cell phone number do not provide it.

To learn how to protect your Social Media Profile you may contact me at

Copyright 2010 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. It's not just social media. Craigslist asked for a cell phone number when I recently created an account to 'verify' postings. When I sent an email asking why this information was now required -- they refused to respond.