Norman Arvidsson
December 1, 2017

Should We Trust Social Media Giants with Password Management?

Should We Trust Social Media Giants with Password Management?

In this article, we will consider the good and the bad of using social media for your password management Then we give a verdict about what we ultimately believe are the more important concerns.

Password Management Concerns

Passwords suck. I mean, the more secure a password is, the harder it is to remember. That’s because the things that make it easy to remember also make it easier for pattern recognition software to find it. After all, what makes it easy to remember is the very patterns that this type of software is looking for.

Even worse, we’re expected to not just have one password but dozens of different ones. The reason for this is clear – when you use the same password across different platforms if any of those platforms gets hacked then all the websites where you used the same password are also at risk.

And as our memories are notoriously feeble, that makes all this password malarkey very difficult indeed. That’s why it’s important that we look for some kind of alternative to the problems of passwords. The social media giants are offering us one – why not use their platform to manage your passwords for the other sites?

The Good

There are a number of reasons why this is a very good idea. First off, it means that we only have to remember a few passwords – namely the password for the social media platforms we’re using. And though we will struggle to remember dozens of different passwords, we should be able to recall one password. After all, we all manage to remember a small set of numbers and important codes (phone numbers, social security numbers, and important dates, for example).

Even better, the social media giants have the technology and the expertise to actually protect those passwords.

There Are Several Reasons For That.

  • They’ve got the money. That’s a big deal. When you’ve got a lot of money, you can hire a security team that is capable of giving people the protection they need. This reverses the problem mentioned above, where if you use the same password for several sites, you’re only as well protected as the weakest site’s protective software. Instead, you now have some of the best protection out there.
  • They’ve got the numbers. Possibly just as important as the money is the fact that they’ve got as many users as they do. Facebook has more than two billion users. That means they’ve got the behaviors of over two billion people and thousands of attempted break-ins to analyze. This allows them to study the tell-tale behavior of people who are trying to log in normally and those who are engaging in identity theft.
  • They’ve got the know-how. All this translates into them having the know-how to really protect your passwords and make sure that your entry attempts are safe. And that means you’ve got real peace of mind.

Here’s Another Big Advantage

By giving over the safekeeping of your passwords to one platform, it becomes a lot easier to log into all the other ones you may be using, be it Hootsuite or rewardedessays. Instead of having to dig up whatever password you need (or get them to send you another copy when you forget it) you just click ‘log in with Facebook’ or ‘login with Google, ’ and you’re in. That is very convenient.

The Bad

All of that said, there is one big problem with using this login method. And that is, you’re handing over even more information to the social media giants than you already are. And for anybody who cares about their online identity – and their online privacy – that should set off all sorts of warning bells.

After all, social media platforms are in the business of finding the best ways to capture our attention… and then selling that to marketers. The more information we give them, the better they become at doing that kind of thing. And that’s serious! We don’t yet know the long-term ramifications and have good reason for some element of wariness.

Some effects are already becoming clear, with research showing that our attention span is shrinking and that people who use social media more are less happy. But really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re going to discover a lot more effects from social media over the next decades. And when we do, we might regret having handed over so much information to them. This is not just for ourselves, but also for the next generation who are being exposed at an ever younger age to social media and never learned to get along without it.

In these situations, is it really a good idea to give social media platforms yet more information about ourselves? Not just on their site but also outside of it?

The Verdict

As with everything online, using social media sites to protect our passwords comes with all sorts of tradeoffs. Yes, it does have certain advantages. It will keep hackers, crackers, and social identity thieves from taking what is not rightfully theirs.

At the same time, it will make the thieves of our attention even more capable of taking what we’re already struggling so hard to keep. After all, we get only so much attention in our lifetimes. And that makes it one of the most valuable resources we have.

Personally, I do not feel comfortable giving social media platforms access to my most important accounts. These should be separate from them. Preferably I would rather not even be logged into social media when I use them (as even then they can learn all sorts of information).

Besides, There Is An Alternative

There is a whole suite of software that can do what Facebook is offering to do – but without all the strings attached. They’re called password managers. They will keep your passwords safe without also running off with the information you give them and fitting it into their models about human behavior.

Sometimes you don’t want a smartphone of easily accessible online behavior. Because though a smartphone is certainly convenient, it also means that some people end up with a lot of information about you. When that organization doesn’t see you as the customer but the product, that’s a worrying situation to be in. For that reason, don’t choose for convenience. Instead, opt for privacy.

Penny For Your Thoughts!

Is this a subject you’ve given much thought to? Has this article perhaps sparked some contemplation in you? On balance, which of the above options seems best to you? We’d love to hear from you!

Related reading: How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Crime

Your Website Has Been Hacked. What Do You Do Now?

Images: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo


The following two tabs change content below.

Norman Arvidsson

writer, blogger at self employed
Norman Arvidsson is a passionate writer who was born in Sweden but then moved to the United States with his family. Now his goal is to share his experience with others through blogging. Familiar with such areas as web dev and design, marketing, freelancing, startups, small business, self-development, and eLearning. Considers personal growth as the main goal in his life.