A blog, short for web log, is a website that is regularly updated with new posts, similar to a diary. Services such as WordPress and Blogger have made it easy for private individuals and companies to set up their own blogs.

The risks

  • Your details could be discovered even if you blog under an assumed name, or anonymously. For example, blogs that are stored outside the EU may not be covered by the same data protection or privacy regulations we enjoy in the UK.
  • You might regret later, something that you blog about. For example, you may lose your job or fail an interview because of embarrassing posts, or upset a friend, relative or loved one.
  • Blogs are subject to libel law. Posting something that is untrue about an individual or organisation could incur serious penalties.
  • Remember – what you post online stays online … anything you post remains in the public domain and accessible indefinitely. Even if you subsequently delete the post, it may have been cached in a search engine or internet archive, or in a company server.
  • You may think you have a small audience, but blogs are public and it is very easy for people to find information on them via search engines.
  • The ‘comment’ feature present on many blogs could be exploited by spammers including links to websites they are promoting, cyber-criminals including links to fraudulent websites, or people using abusive or threatening language.
  • Children unwittingly revealing personal information or posting photographs of themselves.

Safe blogging

  • If you want your blog to be public, disclose only what you want everyone on the Internet to know. Otherwise, keep your blog private.
  • Periodically review who has access to your site and make changes if necessary.
  • Keep details that identify you only to yourself and trusted people.
  • Do not post confidential information that might be used to steal your identity such as credit card numbers, passport details or home address.
  • Consider using an assumed name if you wish to keep your identity secret for personal safety, political reasons or security of employment.
  • Be careful what information you disclose such as your address, school, place of work or birthday.
  • Be careful about the photos you post as they may reveal things about you that you would rather keep private.
  • Be careful about what private feelings you share in your blog.
  • Be aware of what friends blog about you, or write in comments on your blog, particularly about your personal details and activities.
  • Be cautious about meeting in person someone you only know through blogging.
  • Ensure that children are aware of the dangers of blogging to a public audience.
  • If you are new to blogging, start cautiously. Understand the features of the software you use and how the blogging community (the ‘blogosphere’) works, including how to filter comments.
  • Do not post anything that may cause you embarrassment at a later date.

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