We often tick boxes saying we agree to the terms because, hey, they are the same as usual aren't they? Well, no. Not necessarily. Often hidden in the Ts & Cs are permissions that we sign up to saying we will allow adverts, we will allow data harvesting, we then play stupid games where even more data harvesting goes on. Facebook does this and we allow it because we want to stay in touch with people. Because it's fun and it's safe enough in the right owners' hands. The issue is, what happens if Facebook were to be taken over by the wrong hands, legitimately as a sale, or illegitimately as a cyber attack? Then nothing is safe. There is no safety in numbers because algorithms could filter out you or me as a target just because of our browsing history or things we have said, publicly or privately in the past.
Today, when I came to sign in, I was asked to tick an updated Ts & Cs agreement. I bet most people were. How many of us actually read it all the way through? How many of us skimmed through because hey, it's the same as always. How many of us saw this? "All data across all areas of the forum is recorded in the database and can be accessed by the Police Community Staff at any time without reason or without notification and you agree to be bound by these conditions should you use any part of the forum or its features. This includes Direct Messages. " Direct messages. What the forum ten years ago used to call Private Messages. Well, these messages are not private at all.
When I was a Mod we could not read private messages, which is only right and proper. Admin always could, I presume (though the question never arose in the early years) because of the possibility of PMs being used for subversive or criminal behaviour means that if someone is suspected of something, their PMs could be examined. Now, I would expect that even though the power exists, it would not be exercised except under dire necessity and suspicion of criminal behaviour. It's a matter of honour and respect.
Who saw the warning in red? I hope you all did and realised what you have signed up for. In principle I don't mind people's messages being read if they are aware that a third party may, indeed is likely do so. The important thing is that you KNOW that this will happen BEFORE you use the Direct Message service.
I tried to get back to see the Ts and Cs I signed up to. I can't find them, just a remark saying I had agreed. Mostly it was about copyright and indemnity. The warming was in red and bold, hard to miss, you'd think, but it was not on the first page, and now I can't go back to check what else was there. That is wrong. They should be obvious and we should be able to read them at any time.
Basically, nothing is safe on social media. All we can do is try to not be unwise. Personally I will not be DMing anyone.