The best way to find out who is on social is to see if they use the app or not, experts said.
“It can be very difficult to know who you’re seeing,” said Amy A. Stegman, a professor of social media at Ohio State University.
You have to ask questions like, are they friends or not?
“It’s going to be a bit harder if they’re not friends,” she said.
People often use the tools on their smartphones, laptops or tablets, but don’t realize how much information they’re sharing.
“We often have people who are on Facebook, who aren’t on Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat, who are sharing stuff with us and sharing it and we don’t know how much,” Stegmann said.
And even if you do, it can be hard to determine if the person you’re talking to is friends or acquaintances.
“You don’t have a good picture of the whole group, and you can’t tell whether they’re really friends or just people you’ve seen online,” Stigman said.
So, instead of relying on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, consider whether you might have some friends who are using the tools.
Here are some of the questions to ask: Are you sharing pictures, photos, videos and voice messages?
Are they friends, acquaintances or strangers?
Are their friends on Facebook or are they strangers?
Have they ever made a comment about you?
Are you using a mobile phone or tablet?
Are your friends sharing information about your whereabouts or your location?
How much do they know about you and how many do they share about you with others?
“The more information you have, the more likely you are to know someone’s relationship status and you will know what their friends and acquaintances are saying,” Staggman said, “but you won’t know what they’re saying about you.”
For more tips on spotting friends and colleagues, see How to spot friends and coworkers on Facebook and Snapchat.
What do you think you know about your friends and co-workers?
Have you noticed a change in your friends’ behavior?
How have they changed their behavior?
Contact the NBC News Investigative Unit at (866) 556-4746 or email [email protected]
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