When it comes to personal information, social media platforms are an especially fertile ground for privacy breaches.
That’s because social media, in the context of online terrorism, is one of the main platforms for propagating extremist ideology and recruitment.
“In some ways it is an easy target,” says Christopher Soghoian, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former chief technology officer at the National Security Agency.
Soghiian, who’s also an associate professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin, says that, like many other forms of digital communication, social networking sites offer a convenient way to communicate and share information about one another.
“It’s easy to be vulnerable online and it’s easy for people to find themselves in a position where they can be identified, where they know their identity and what they’re doing, so that they can get out,” Soghioian says.
So for this reason, he says, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are an easy place to “put in a profile picture and say that you’re here to talk about terrorism, or whatever the purpose of that is.”
The fact that they provide so many options for creating and changing profile pictures, and that they’re free to use whatever they want, is the big reason Soghian and other experts have called for more transparency and control on how profile pictures are used.
And in the wake of a series of high-profile terrorist attacks last year, the US government has been looking to crack down on the sharing of extremist propaganda on social media.
The US government launched an initiative to develop guidelines for online platforms to better protect people’s privacy.
It wants to create rules that would prevent “cybercriminals” from exploiting users’ profiles to spread extremist propaganda, or to identify and track them.
But Soghiaian says that while the guidelines are helpful in addressing the problem of extremist content, they may not be enough to address the problem when it comes time to delete your profile.
“When you’re in a vulnerable situation where you’re online and you don’t have a secure environment, it’s easier for people who are in that vulnerable situation to put a profile photo in there that can be used to share that information,” Sohamiian says, “so they can say, ‘Oh, I’m going to do something with my information.’
And when that happens, it can be a big problem.”
He adds, “There are no easy solutions.
There’s no simple solution.”
In addition to the issues of identity theft and identity theft detection, other issues related to social media include the fact that there are so many choices for how to share personal information.
“We have to start with the fact, if you have a profile on Facebook and you go into your profile, you have options for sharing,” Soghaniian adds.
“And you can share your name, your full name, anything, and it may not necessarily be an accurate representation of who you are.
There are a number of people who will say, well, if I just put a picture of my face on there, I’ll get that right.
But what they don’t realize is that this is a huge privacy risk.”
Social media is also one of many online platforms that offer tools for social justice activists to share information and organize to protest online.
For example, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) used Facebook to organize a series at the DNC, where it asked people to sign a petition to remove Trump from the ticket and demand a $15 minimum wage.
But the campaign, which was supposed to last for a few weeks, ended up lasting a month.
So CPD is asking Facebook to delete its profile picture from the site.
“I think it’s a good thing to do,” Sohaiaian told Al Jazeera.
“There’s a reason why people are doing it and it has to do with the safety of the public.
If you have people who might be vulnerable in that situation, you want to have a way to address that.
I think it is important to take a good step and make sure that when you’re talking about something like that that you are addressing those issues, that there’s transparency around the process, that you can find people who have that information.”
For Soghion, who was a member of the US Army in Afghanistan during the war in Iraq, the current situation has put him in a difficult position.
He says that since the attacks on 9/11, he has had to “defend myself from people who were using my personal information to attack my family and my friends, who I have to deal with, and attack me.
I have no choice.”
Al Jazeera spoke to Soghiana to get his thoughts on how he can protect himself from being used by terrorists online.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
– Al Jazeera Arabic Arabic Transcript: Al Jazeera: What’s your perspective on the recent spate of terrorist attacks in the US?
How does social media affect our society?