When you’re scrolling on the Internet or on social media, you might not realize that your browsing history is being tracked. However, you might be surprised as to how much of your search history is actually “private.” This is why it is important to know what is a digital footprint and how it can impact you.
What is a Digital Footprint?
A digital footprint is a data trail you leave whenever you browse the Internet. This could include websites that you go on, instant messages and emails that you send and receive, social media posts, online form information, and information you post on dating sites.
What is a Passive Digital Footprint?
A passive digital footprint is information you unintentionally leave online. When you go on a website, that website could track your IP address which could then identify your Internet service provider and your location. Also, search engines can save your search history whenever you search something up without you even realizing it.
What is an Active Digital Footprint?
An active digital footprint is when you submit data intentionally online. This can include a social media post, an online shopping form, an email/instant message, or a blog post. This is different from a passive digital footprint since you know you are intentionally leaving this information behind versus not knowing the information is left behind.
Why Should We Care About Our Digital Footprint?
The more you post on social media, send an email or instant message, write about yourself on your dating profile, or the more you use the Internet, your footprint grows without you even realizing it. The Internet can pick up on your likes, dislikes, and habits which get sold to third-party companies. They take your information and use it to advertise the things they sell based on what you like.
For example, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google are tracking the websites you visit when you click “Like”, “Retweet”, or “+1”. They send this data to third-party companies who advertise certain products on websites you visit based on products you like.
Also, different companies can look you up on Google to see what your social media pages are like and what you are posting to determine whether or not you are qualified for the position. Along with this, people can look you up on Google and perform a reverse search on you to see what your data is like before getting close to you.
Plus, if you give your information to the wrong website, there is a chance that you could be a victim of identity theft. Scammers create fake websites that trick their victims into giving out personal information that should not be shared with anyone else. Scammers can then use this information to commit identity fraud and drain their victims’ bank accounts.
How Can We Control Our Digital Footprint?
- Watch what you email or instant message people.
- Watch what you post on social media or on your blog.
- Make sure the reputation you have on the Internet is one that you want the general public to see.
- Making sure what we search up or sign up for is something where we wouldn’t care if someone else saw it.
- Become aware that when you make a purchase, there’s a chance that the purchase will not remain a secret and can get advertised to us via our social media pages.
- Don’t give out personal information to websites that you don’t know or don’t trust because if you do, you could become a victim of identity theft. If you feel like your identity was stolen, report it at IdentityTheft.gov.
Social Catfish is Here to Help!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you’re wondering what is a digital footprint and who can access my digital footprint.