Important Facts About the Facebook Issue and How to Keep Your Information Safe Online

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Recently, Facebook has come under significant fire for a data breach within the last couple of years. This issue is particularly concerning as more and more companies have their data compromised. Any business from a gas station, to a department store, to an online shopping center or site has experienced issues with hackers acquiring users private data. While some data breaches may be more serious than others, such as bank information or social security numbers being stolen, any invasion of private information is unsettling, especially with a company as large as Facebook, where many people feel safe using the platform.

What happened?

People in America and Britain learned that a political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, linked to President Trump’s campaign in 2016 was able to collect private data from over 50 million Facebook users. This breach of privacy is bad enough, but lawmakers learned that Facebook failed to notify users about the data breach.

The data firm was founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer, both supporters of President Trump. The firm used the information it gathered to identify American voters for specific criteria and then influence their behavior in the 2016 election. Though it’s under debate how much these efforts actually influenced voters, the main issue is that Facebook failed to notify users that their data had been compromised. Lawmakers in Britain are currently looking into concerns of fake news and Russian interference that led to Brexit occurring in 2016 as well.

Facebook was already under scrutiny because of fake news and trolling by Russian sources, so this coverup of the data breach is only adding fuel to the fire.

What steps are being taken?

As Facebook moves to make up for failing to release the information on the date breaches, lawmakers are calling for Mark Zuckerberg to appear before Congress. Their initial silence raised red flags and brought the issue rapidly into the spotlight as more and more people demanded answers. People are searching for whose responsible for this error and other are even questioning the purpose of continuing to use Facebook.

Facebook higherups have begun breaking their silence, but there are still plenty of questions about what happened and what needs to be done to prevent instances like this one from reoccurring. It remains to be seen what happens now.
How can you protect yourself?

As this issue becomes public knowledge and people and businesses are scrutinizing their own privacy and security preferences, it’s more important than ever before to make sure your personal information is secure, whether you’re simply using sites online or you’re running a business that holds others’ private information.

If you’re responsible for a business that’s storing private information, the best step you can take is simply keeping your security up-to-date and frequently check its strength. If you do not have someone in-house capable of this step, find a contractor or company who can do it for you. The investment is certainly worth it if it means it keeps private company and consumer information safe.

If you’re simply concerned about how to keep your personal information safe online, there are a few steps you can take. Remember to only give private information to sites that are labeled as secure and always use a secure browser. Avoid saving passwords or credit card information and regularly update your passwords for different accounts. Finally, monitor your credit score and accounts to detect any fraud early on.

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Learn Why You Should Spend Less Time Looking at Your Phone

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Billions of people have cell phones and use them every day. Smartphones are capable of doing virtually everything a computer can and you can use them nearly anywhere. Many of us claim we could never live without our phone, yet it often brings unhappiness. People feel like they need to have a phone that they can connect to all of their social media accounts, stay up to date with the news, and play games on, but recent statistics show that people are spending hours of time on their phones and often feel less fulfilled. Why is this and what can we do? A recent TED Talk from psychologist Adam Alter provides interesting information on the subject and helps reach a conclusion on how to stop this problem.

Industry views

Alter begins his TED Talk with some intriguing information. Steve Jobs created Apple and rained praise on Apple products, considering them “revolutionary.” However, Jobs once stated during an interview that he does not allow his own children to use iPads and instead carefully monitors how much time they’re spending using tech. The same holds true for many others who work in the tech industry; they try to limit their children’s access to screens until they’re well into their teenage years.

Time breakdown

During the TED Talk, Alter flashes an interesting infographic on the screen. He takes statistics from 2007, 2015, and 2017 and breaks out days into time spent doing certain tasks. Each day, the majority of our time is spent on work, sleep, and basic tasks, leaving us with only a few hours to dedicate to bettering ourselves and focusing on our hobbies.

Alter then adds in the amount of time staring at screens takes up during our free time. He focuses mostly on using smartphones and those apps and isn’t counting time during the average of eight hours spent at work. Since smartphones became popular around 2007, the amount of time spent on them has greatly increased to 2017, when nearly all of our free time is taken up by staring at a screen as opposed to doing something else. While this data is certainly not true for everyone, the average amount of time people spend looking at a screen when they have free time is shocking.

How apps affect us

Though it isn’t good to spend so much time looking at a screen, Alter acknowledges there are incredible benefits to technology. Without current technology, we would never be able to instantly connect with other people who live across the country or on the other side of the world. Families can stay in touch even if they live in different countries and it’s easy to reach someone during an emergency. However, the majority of time spent on smartphones is not for these purposes, which is why we need to re-evaluate our usage of these incredible devices.

Different types of apps have various effects. Research has shown that apps that help you better yourself can directly contribute to happiness. Apps that involve exercise, education, readings, or focusing on your physical and mental health will increase happiness, but a small portion of screen time is spent using these kinds of apps.  Instead, much more time is dedicated to those apps that make us feel negatively, such as dating, social media, news, and gaming apps. People also frequently aimlessly browse on their phones, which leads to a sense of unfulfillment and leads to a significant amount of time wasted.

Possible solutions

This information isn’t exactly anything new, which means people are actively working on finding solutions; we’ve known for a while it isn’t all that great to stare at a phone instead of doing more productive activities. Some companies have taken drastic steps to help disconnect people from technology, such as not having any emails sent to someone’s account while they’re on vacation or cutting the power to computers at the end of the workday to avoid having employees spend many extra hours at work. While these methods may seem a bit extreme, there are other solutions as well, especially when it comes to smartphones.

A big issue with wasting time staring at a screen is that smartphones have no stopping cues. A stopping cue indicates that it’s time to move on to another task, such as the end of a television show on cable or reading to the end of an article or magazine. People can continue using their phones endlessly without realizing how long they’re doing so. You could attempt to not use your phone after a certain time of day, but something may always come up and schedules frequently change. A good place to start is to simply avoid using your phone when you’re eating. Set it somewhere far away from you so you completely cut out the temptation to look at it.

At first, it might be difficult to not have your smartphone with you and you’ll feel like you’re missing out on events and important information, but you’ll eventually make it a habit. As you cut back on your aimless smartphone use, you’ll realize how much more free time you have and you’ll notice your mood improving. It provides you with the opportunity to cultivate deeper relationships with actual people. Smartphones are incredible technology that can benefit us in a multitude of ways, but we need to learn how to properly use them in order to maximize our own happiness.

7 Top-Notch Podcasts for Entrepreneurs that Push You Toward Success

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As an entrepreneur, it’s likely you’re always looking for opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge. Podcasts are a perfect way to achieve these goals, because they allow you to learn while playing them in the background. You can multitask while listening to a podcast or listen to them during your commute. In the last few years, podcasts have become increasingly more popular and now you can find one on basically any topic you could possibly imagine. You should aim to continuously enhance your skills and learn more, so here are some of the best podcasts for entrepreneurs to help motivate and inform you.

Startup

The company Gimlet Media produces this podcast, known as Startup. The CEO of Gimlet, Alex Blumberg, and Lisa Chow, a former editor, run this podcast. It follows the lessons they’ve learned along the way in business. It’s an incredibly personal podcast that walks listeners through the more detailed parts of starting a company.

This is Your Life

If you’re a brand-new entrepreneur, this podcast will be a fantastic resource for you. Michael Hyatt gives you detailed podcasts on various topics that help you get a taste for what it’s like being an entrepreneur.

She Did It Her Way

If you’re a female entrepreneur or just want some perspective from one, this podcast is a good option to check out. The podcast features a successful female entrepreneur each week, from a variety of backgrounds and industries.

The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Work Week, also has a podcast. The podcast has over 100 episodes and is highly ranked. Ferriss talks to various entrepreneurs who are leaders in their industries and shares their tips for success with listeners. It offers quality advice, but is also really fun.

Social Pros

A major part of a successful business strategy is understanding how to market the company. Jay Baer and Adam Brown lead this podcast. They interview the social media strategists of large companies in order to gather advice to share with listeners. It’s particularly useful for keeping up with social media trends.

Entrepreneur On Fire

Entrepreneur on Fire offers a wide-range of topics for listeners. If you like variety, this podcast is perfect for you. Some episodes are incredibly informative, while others are simply entertaining to listen to.

Mixergy

Andrew Warner leads this podcast and features experienced entrepreneurs on his show who can offer quality advice to more novice entrepreneurs. Warner asks his guests in-depth questions that lead to interesting conversations and genuine interactions.