Phone screen with comments superimposed to show the jigsaw effect in action - when people give away personal information unwittingly on social media

From social media platforms to online gaming communities, our personal information is readily available for sharing. However, there’s a dark side to this interconnectedness that we must acknowledge: the Jigsaw Effect. This unsettling phenomenon involves criminals piecing together personal information from various online sources to target and harm vulnerable individuals, often children. As community managers within brands and charities, it’s crucial to raise awareness about this threat and equip our online communities with the tools they need to stay safe.

Unveiling the Jigsaw Effect

Imagine a puzzle where each piece is a fragment of someone’s online presence – their social media posts, gaming profiles, shared images, and even location data. Criminals adept at the Jigsaw Effect exploit these fragments to create a comprehensive picture of their potential victim. This dangerous puzzle enables them to identify weaknesses, patterns, and opportunities for exploitation.

Vulnerable Individuals at Risk

The victims of the Jigsaw Effect are often vulnerable individuals, particularly children, who may not fully understand the implications of sharing personal information online. These criminals manipulate the data they gather to exert control, cause harm, or commit crimes such as fraud, abduction, or harassment in the real world.

Empowering Online Communities for Safety

As brand and charity marketers and community managers, you have a unique platform to raise awareness and empower individuals to protect themselves against the Jigsaw Effect. 

Here’s how: 


Share information about the Jigsaw Effect through blog posts, social media campaigns, and resources like our free infographic. Encourage safe online practices, such as being mindful of the information shared publicly and teaching children about online privacy. 

Privacy Settings: 

Advise your community to review and strengthen their privacy settings on social media and gaming platforms. Limiting the visibility of personal information can deter criminals from assembling their dangerous puzzle. 

Regular Checks: 

Encourage users to regularly review their online profiles and accounts. Delete or limit access to any sensitive information that might be used against them. 

Geo-Tagging Awareness: 

Remind individuals to disable geolocation features for images shared online. This prevents criminals from pinpointing their exact location.

Free Infographic: Protect Yourself from the Jigsaw Effect

To help spread awareness and keep online audiences safe, we’ve created a free infographic explaining the Jigsaw Effect. Feel free to share it with members of your organisation and your online community. In this digitally connected world, the Jigsaw Effect serves as a stark reminder of the importance of online vigilance.

An infographic showing how the Jigsaw Effect works. Graphic representations of speech bubbles each contain a piece of personal information about a child. Taken together, a criminal can identify and find the child in real life.

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