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Beware of giving away too much in social media posts

Photos, postings and tweets reveal personal information to those lurking online

KARDASHIAN ROBBERY: BLAME IT ON HER SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS?

Cannot wait to check in on Facebook or geotag your Instagram posts the moment you touch down at your holiday destination?

You may be putting yourself at risk by doing that. A simple vacation post might just alert those watching that you are away from home, and in which less familiar surroundings, plus what you are wearing.

The high-profile robbery, which saw American reality television star Kim Kardashian West being held at gunpoint in her Paris apartment, has highlighted the perils of revealing too much information online.

Robbers who burst into her room in the early hours of last Monday made away with a jewellery box containing valuables worth €6 million (S$9.2 million) and a ring worth €4 million.

It remains unclear if the robbery was triggered by her social media posts flaunting her expensive jewellery, or whether her assailants tracked her down by following her posts. Ms Johanna Primevert, chief spokesman for the Paris Police, hinted at the possibility. "It was really the celebrity who was targeted, with possessions that had been seen and noticed via social media, and it was these goods that the attackers targeted," she said.

Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters' interviews with Asians about the US election have come under fire for being racist. A Milo van giving away free cups of iced Milo at Plaza Singapura last Friday, in support of home-grown singer Nathan Hartono ahe
A Milo van giving away free cups of iced Milo at Plaza Singapura last Friday, in support of home-grown singer Nathan Hartono ahead of the Sing! China final. The
episode holds interesting lessons for organisations seeking ways to engage their target audience and build an emotional connection. ST PHOTO: GREGORY PHUA

Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters' interviews with Asians about the US election have come under fire for being racist. A Milo van giving away free cups of iced Milo at Plaza Singapura last Friday, in support of home-grown singer Nathan Hartono ahe
An Instagram post of Kardashian West with a diamond ring. Her high-profile robbery, which saw her being held at gunpoint in her Paris home, has highlighted the perils of revealing too much information online. PHOTO: KIM KARDASHIAN WEST/INSTAGRAM

Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters' interviews with Asians about the US election have come under fire for being racist. A Milo van giving away free cups of iced Milo at Plaza Singapura last Friday, in support of home-grown singer Nathan Hartono ahe
Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters’ interviews with Asians about the US election have come under fire for being racist. PHOTO: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT

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The 35-year-old celebrity, who has 84 million followers on Instagram and another 48 million on Twitter, documents just about every detail of her life.

Even though she did not post her exact location while she was in Paris, it was not difficult to track her general movements by following her posts.

So here are some tips to help you stay safe:

•Turn off the Global Positioning System function on your mobile phone to avoid accidentally disclosing your location when posting on social media.

•Geofilters on Snapchat can easily identify a venue or event. One workaround, says tech site Mashable, is to post to Snapchat in airplane mode.

•If you must share your location on Facebook or Twitter, do it after you have left that place. Oh, and try not to be too much of a show-off online.

MILO HITS THE SWEET SPOT

Singaporean crooner Nathan Hartono did the country proud by winning a hard-fought second spot in the Sing! China final last Friday.The contest also produced an unexpected winner: the humble Milo drink.

It all started with a casual joke.

"If I win, I will rent a fleet of Milo vans and treat everybody to Milo peng (iced Milo)," Hartono, 25, quipped in an interview with The Straits Times on Oct 1.

Nestle Singapore, which manufactures the chocolate malt beverage, sniffed a serious opportunity. It responded swiftly with a sweet offer few could resist.

"Nathan, win or lose, Milo will support you all the way! No need to rent, also can. Just tell us where, we bring the van," Nestle posted on its Facebook page.

It made good on its promise last Friday by preparing 15,000 cups of free Milo at Plaza Singapura, ahead of the Sing! China final.

Nestle, which said it would organise giveaways at more locations, generated more buzz by crowdsourcing ideas on where to deploy the Milo van.

Overnight, Milo peng became a hot topic. Some netizens shared fond memories of the green van spotted at school sporting events.

"The taste of yesterday once more!!" a Facebook user wrote.

Others vowed that the drink from a Milo van tasted especially good, and wanted to know if Nestle uses a special formula.

"It was definitely beverage from a truck that was the magic," said another Milo fan.

The episode is yet another example of how things can take on a life of its own on social media.

It also holds interesting lessons for businesses and organisations seeking ways to engage their target audience, and build that all-important emotional connection.

In this case, Milo appeared to have hit the sweet spot.

'POLITICAL HUMOUR' BACKFIRES

With just one month to go before the nail-biting United States presidential election on Nov 8, American cable channel Fox News probably thought it was a good idea to lighten things up.

So it sent correspondent Jesse Watters to New York's Chinatown to find out what people of Asian descent thought about the race.

But Mr Watters, 38, seemed more interested in making his interviewees look bad, asking questions such as "Do you know karate?" and "Can you take care of North Korea for us?". Those who spoke English with an accent were ridiculed in the five-minute clip.

When the segment was aired last Monday, few were amused. It drew angry responses for its blatant racism and stereotyping. An online petition, which called for an apology from Fox News, garnered more than 10,000 signatures.

In response, Mr Watters, who calls himself "a political humourist", said it was all done in "good fun".

"My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offence," he wrote on his Twitter account.

His half-hearted apology did little to quell criticism. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted: "The vile, racist behaviour of Fox's Jesse Watters... has no place in our city. Fox News - keep this guy off TV."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 09, 2016, with the headline 'Beware of giving away too much in social media posts'. Print Edition | Subscribe