Social Media Fraud Feeds on FOMO—Fear of Missing Out

3 minute read

For centuries, sociologists have examined the question, “What drives human behavior?” Such intellectual exploration helps determine the rationale behind the actions driving our world’s economies, political structures and even leisurely pursuits. Once we understand underlying motivation, we can more clearly identify and predict patterns of interaction with the capability to benefit us—or disrupt and attack what we hold valuable. Since the 1990s, the information revolution has profoundly influenced human behavior, paving the way for the “need it now” generation. We no longer turn to dense stacks of encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs and atlases. The answers to all questions are instantly available with the proliferation of Google and smart devices. But with this new found ease of access, comes the use of these networks for malicious activities, such as social media fraud to dissemination of faulty information.

The emergence of social networks has accelerated the “always on” inclinations of our societies. Constant dependence upon those networks knows no demographic limitation. Nor is there a ceiling to the potential of their impact, as social media can empower presidential candidates to victory, and overthrow long standing governments.

Today, “need it now” and “always on” has evolved to a state of what’s called FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out. The Internet is dealing a death blow to traditional newspapers. But social networks are killing the relevancy of news sites as “first clicks” of the day: Your favorite NFL player gets injured; a senator misspeaks at a town hall meeting; a natural disaster unfolds in Peru … All of this and everything else of any interest travels at the speed of NOW within the social landscape, and that’s where we learn about events FIRST.

Even when the events aren’t real.

That’s right. The Internet has continuously functioned as a place to find answers—whether they’re right or wrong. Social networks have only rapidly amplified this dynamic. Cyber criminals are quite skilled at presenting breaking news that isn’t real, from a “respected” authority who is actually an imposter. These adversaries can post corporate promotions which aren’t promotions, and company videos which aren’t videos—they’re conduits for scams and malware exploits. Instant access to “must have” information from a “trusted source” is the modern-day equivalent of the house of confectioneries from the witch that lured Hansel and Gretel. In this case, however, the confectioneries are a pure hoax.

When employees are the victims of social media fraud, their organization’s information and proprietary knowledge is promptly placed at risk. If a cyber criminal “poses” as a company and/or an executive officer on a social network and launches a deceptive malware operation which targets customers, the corporate reputation and brand loyalty are severely compromised. The need to anticipate and detect emerging risk on social platforms and networks which are outside of the control of a business is real, and necessary. Innovation MUST travel at the speed of exposure to combat threats, as well as the need to ADAPT approaches.

Toward that end, Social Media Security immediately identifies, monitors and manages any and all risks associated with an organization’s social media ecosystem. Analytics tools automate the building of complete context of the entire range of brand-identified activity on social network sites. Thus, teams can closely track everything that’s happening out there, while receiving real-time alerts about suspected imposter activity signifying the most urgent threats. With that, a swift remediation sequence is put in play, and the phony rogue presence is taken down, therefore eliminating social media fraud.

In hindsight, the essence of human behavior—and its impact upon the world—has transformed with astonishing velocity. Identification of the shifts is essential for everyone, but especially those who are tasked with the protection of assets. Delays in meaningful responses have met with devastating consequences for companies and their brands. With a well planned and executed social media fraud strategy, organizations can safely avoid this fallout.

Tags: Cyber Trends

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