On October 2nd, reality star Kim Kardashian was robbed of millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery at gunpoint in a luxury apartment in Paris. And while we don’t know how her attackers planned the robbery, her social media accounts could have certainly helped, in what is a lesson for anyone who uses social media.
Kim Kardashian owes a large part of her fame and her brand to the power of social media. After all, she is amongst the most popularly followed celebrities on platforms like SnapChat, Twitter and Instagram, and it is not uncommon for her to publish dozens of posts from those accounts in a single day.
But of course, opening up so much of your life to the public is a risky pursuit, as we so often discuss on this site. Especially if you’re a part of one of the world’s most famous and recognisable families.
Stars like the Kardashians and their famous friends are well aware of the risks of poor social media habits. The subject has been bought up a number of times in their reality TV series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” One of the stars of that show, Kylie Jenner, even had a stalker who would use her social media activity to track her movements.
However, any advice they may have given each other when the subject of privacy and security came up was evidently ignored on the evening of her attack, as dozens of social media posts were published by Kim and her entourage, in real time, showing the star getting ready for her evening, some apparently even in the same apartment complex where the attack took place.
So even when Kim Kardashian wasn’t stood in front of the media spotlight, one wouldn’t have much trouble keeping up with her movements as they happened.
While we don’t know if her attackers used those social media posts to keep track on what Kim was doing, they sure could have helped. Especially considering the star posted a number of photos during the days leading up to the attack that showed her adorned with many expensive items of jewellery, including a multi-million dollar ring.
Of course if you and your friends are sharing similar posts in real time (minus the million dollar jewellery), it allows anyone with an Internet connection to map out a very good picture of what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and what items worth stealing you may have with you. (We’ve warned about it time and time again!)
While in this case the attack befell a well-known celebrity, the same lessons apply to all of us, even if we don’t grace the sparkling halls of the rich and famous. There is an entire generation of kids who look up to this type of lifestyle and actively try and adopt it, all craving the same social media spotlight. And as such they take on the same risks as their celebrity idols when they publish post after post of what they’re up to, publicly, for the whole world to see and potentially exploit.
For the most part, a common sense approach is needed.
– Privacy. While the Kardashians make a living from sharing their personal moments with the entire planet, it is important that if we enjoy sharing certain moments online, that we should be acutely aware of who can see them. Some moments should not be shared with the public, and need strict privacy controls applied, and some posts have no business gracing the Internet at all. Understand how the privacy settings on each social media site works, and use them!
– Don’t post in real time. Platforms like SnapChat and Twitter are great for posting pics and other content in real time but that doesn’t mean you always should. On holiday? Think about posting those holiday snaps when you’re back, so you’re not advertising the fact that your home may be empty and vulnerable.
– Don’t post valuables. While rich Hollywood stars often opt to ignore this, it is important for the rest of us. Don’t post photos of valuable items online, especially if they can be seen by anyone. You’re essentially opening yourself up to be an easy target.
While it is unlikely that the Kardashians will change their social media habits – it is, after all, part of what makes them famous and they have the luxury of a security detail and PR experts to help them – the rest of us should certainly be aware of the consequences of social media oversharing and actively try and reduce our chances of becoming victims of a similar attack.