• Zoë Rose

The Link between Oversharing and Human Behaviour

Updated: Jul 7

Based on research done by Nationwide Building Society


Humans are social beings; we need to collaboration, appreciation, recognition, and esteem, we want to be C.A.R.E.'d for. As we advance, technology has enabled us to build out communities, reach farther, to what Cisco described as bridging 7 billion individual environments to create 1 world together.


This has enabled us to feel a sense of achievement at times, having 'Internet friends' celebrating our successes. Along with helping us mourn together, acknowledging wrongs, and working together to fix them.


Unfortunately, not all of our 'Twitter followers' or 'LinkedIn connections' have our best interests at heart. At times, they are malicious. Consider:


  • A contact had their social media accounts and email targeted and taken over by a known terrorist group. They were at a loss, why would this account be of value? As social media sites progress to make fake/malicious accounts harder to create, there is value in the existing reputable accounts.

  • A contact had family member's account duplicated, confused, they contact that family member. Through investigation it was identified a not-well-intentioned male contact wanted access to a young girl related to that family member.


These are two small examples where people, without realising, have overshared information, either resulting in enabling account take over or fraud accounts. In 2018, Nationwide Building Society decided to investigate this further. They interviewed more than 1,000 young people, aged 18-25, across the United Kingdom. A few interesting findings they found were:


  • 83% of young people in the United Kingdom know someone who gives away personal information online

  • 56% share their current location, and 50% publish holiday updates

  • 36% have their social media accounts partially or fully public, which could allow others to see their daily activities, including locational information and routines

  • 20%, or 1 in 5, young people admitted to having had their social media accounts hacked

  • 11%, or >1 in 10, said they themselves or a friend have lost money as a direct result of a hacked account

  • 9% have shared a photo of debit and/or credit cards via WhatsApp, email, text, or social media

Starting with radio interviews across the United Kingdom, we discussed the findings within the local areas, examples below, and finishing off with an interview discussing on Sky News.


  • Panda Radio, Gerry and I discussed: 81% of young people know someone who overshares online, where more than ⅓ admit their social media is either fully or partially public. More than ¼ have previously been hacked.

  • BBC Radio Scotland, John and I covered: 1 in 10 admitted their social media is completely public, and 18% have previously been hacked.

  • BBC Radio Tess, Dave and I discussed: 78% of young people know someone who overshares, ⅓ having completely or partially public accounts and nearly ¼ having been hacked previously.

  • talkRADIO, Julia and I covered how: again, 83% of young people know someone that overshare. However, Nationwide found that 20% of the young people had fallen victim to paying fraudsters due to paying for goods outside of the auction site. Another 20% shared they had been hacked previously.

  • BBC Devon Gordon and I chatted regarding: more than ⅓ of young people have partially or completely public accounts, and 11% having been hacked previously.


I also had the pleasure to connect with Aston at Gateway, Ben on The Source, Jason on WCR FM, and finally Mike from Future Radio. There were also more statistics to share, a list is available below, and read from Nationwide's update here.


Humans are social beings, we want to collaborate and the Internet allows us to do this. We look at others, believing they have the best intentions, and unfortunately, we have to take a moment to rethink this. Regardless of whether you're a seasoned technology professional, new to computers, or simply curious, the online community can be hugely beneficial in your life - if used appropriately. Some tips to make sure it stays beneficial are:


  1. Be aware of your audience: who can see your posts, who have you connected with, who can share your posts?

  2. Make a conscious decision before sharing: make sure you are happy with that information being shared publicly. Even if you limit posts, there is a possibility that another unknown person gains access to it.

  3. Enable multi-factor authentication: where ever possible making use of multi-factor authentication will enable you to take back control of your accounts, even if login details are stolen.


Full statistics identified:

  • 83% of young people in the United Kingdom know someone who gives away personal information online.

  • 56% share their current location

  • 50% publish holiday updates

  • 42% share birthdays

  • 38% share photos that identify where they work

  • 37% have photos that identify where they study

  • 24% have posted images that show the front door of their house

  • 6% have shared bank details

  • 52% of young people save passwords to their phone

  • 46% write passwords down somewhere

  • 26% save bank details to their browser

  • 18% have given someone their bank card and PIN

  • 17% of young people have downloaded an app outside of the official app store

  • 17% have shared a password with a friend

  • 12% have shared a PIN number for a bank card with a friend

  • 9% have shared a photo of their debit and/or credit card via WhatsApp, email, text message, or social media

  • 36% have their social media accounts to partially or fully public, which potentially could allow others to see these posts

  • 20%, or 1 in 5, young people have had their social media accounts hacked

  • 11%, or >1 in 10, said they themselves or a friend have lost money as a result

  • 43% of young people who have had their social media account hacked, so 4 in 10, have no idea how it happened

  • 24% said it happened after clicking a link from a friend that wasn’t genuine (1 in 4)

  • 7% have followed a false social media account or entered login credentials in a false webpage

  • 6% said they have used apps that are not the official

  • 77% of those who have been hacked, so 8 in 10, said it led to suspicious activity on their accounts

  • 40% said that suspicious activity was messages were sent to their friends

  • ­ 20% had their date of birth changed

  • ­ 17% had friend requests being sent or accepted

  • ­ 11% said it led to friends accounts also being hacked


#Hacked #Oversharing #InformationDisclosure #Awareness #PersonalSecurity

0 views

©2020 by Zoë Rose