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Prank freaks people out about how public their social networks are

Privacy is dead, and we killed it ourselves. Voluntarily. In this social media experiment, people are somehow shocked that the information they’ve made public is actually publicly available.

social media psychic

social media psychic

The social media psychic

Social media users today post endless photos of themselves through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, including location data, and in many cases, context about their lives. Many of these social media users offer this information to the public, and check in to locations without making their information private.

So why then, would anyone be surprised when they are approached by a stranger who magically knows about these public status updates, as if he is a psychic? Prankster Jack Vale set out to freak people out by making people think they knew personal information about them:

The guys who threatened to call the cops? Vale should have said, “oh yes, please do,” to prove that the police can’t do a damn thing about information these people have made public – Vale just said hi, he’s within the law.

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Lessons learned from this prank

Everyone that watched this video should instantly recognize that while their followers are the primary recipients of these status updates, if they are public, it is open to anyone to see. Go check your privacy settings on all of your social networks if it bothers you that strangers know your name and that you are sitting in Starbucks working on client paperwork.

Second, this prank should open peoples’ eyes not only as to the obvious (the amount of information social media users make available to the public every day), but to the less obvious, that more than just your followers may care about what you’re saying in public, especially when a location is involved. Anyone can search for nearby Instagram photos taken in real time, or Facebook users currently online nearby, and that’s not news, but it is finally becoming more common, which highlights the need for privacy.

But what if you don’t care about privacy? Just keep in mind that strangers around you may suddenly know who you are when you Instagram in a public place, but you know nothing about them. Life in a two-way mirror isn’t preferable, so consider your privacy settings carefully.

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The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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