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Your Digital Fingerprint: Assessing Social Media Risks

What are the risks of social media? In 2010 Southwest Airlines learned that one irritated passenger can unleash a Twitter fire storm. However, there are even greater risks at stake. One quick example:

A young officer in the Israel Defense Force tweeted a link to a video showing the bombing of an alleged enemy. One consequence of the social media post was anger. Another was escalation of social media hostilities. Is the young officer’s family in danger? Our  view is, “Yes.” Clumsy social media actions can have significant consequences. The risks associated with digital fingerprints are increasing, and most professionals are unaware of their opportunities and their vulnerabilities.

For executives who have been active social media users, does senior management or the Board of Directors know what lurks in key professional “social media closet”? In our experience, we know the answer to this question is, “What do you mean?” This statement is quickly followed by the assertion, “I have not posted anything improper.”

Digital fingerprint

The reality is that most individuals in positions of responsibility do not know what their digital fingerprint is or do those in positions of responsibility know what type of social online persona key professionals may have.

There are more subtle characteristics of a social media fingerprint. Most executives over the age of 40 are not aware of these facets of social media:

  • An operative armed with a false identity can post messages and attribute those messages to another individual. Do you know if your personal digital fingerprint has been subject to semantic manipulation?
  • A group of individuals working on a contract basis from another country can post messages on a range of social media services. These messages can suggest problems with products, individual conduct, and brands. Is your firm or you vulnerable to what we reference as the Ivory Snow-Satan vulnerability?
  • A single individual can create a news service and disseminate information about an individual. The information, once indexed by various services, becomes part of the targeted person’s “identity.” One example is the tireless work of a single individual targeting a European head of state. See, for example, The Eringer Report.

ArnoldIT offers a range of specialized “digital fingerprint” services. These include:

  • Auditing an individual’s digital fingerprint. This service is useful prior to hiring or making a public action related to an individual, brand, or concept.
  • Prioritizing potential vulnerabilities.
  • Developing a remediation plan
  • Implementing remediation tactics
  • Enhancing the online persona of an individual, brand, or concept
  • Monitoring social media services for potentially negative information about an individual, brand or concept.

ArnoldIT has developed a method for using semantic technologies to position certain subjects. Information about the method is available at We continue to provide these services to government entities and carefully screened individuals and organizations. For a confidential discussion of our services, write us at

ArnoldIT's social links

  1. Introduction
  2. Context-aware planning
  3. Social media risks
  4. Tactical implementation
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