How to Protect Yourself on Social Media
With the prevalence of mobile devices and the increasing presence of social media networks and apps, knowing how to protect your privacy has become of paramount importance. Here are some ways you can do so!
Watch and Consider What You Post Online
Remember that the internet is permanent! Once you leave information on a website, it stays there, and you lose the ability to control who sees or distributes that information. Furthermore, before posting or sharing anything on social media, pause and consider whether the contents of that post might negatively alter one’s perception of you.
For example, as a male, what might reposting a sexually suggestive video on social media imply about you and your interests? The lesson here is that whatever you do on social media paints a picture of who you are as a person! Or perhaps someone who is in authority over you is friends with you on Facebook – even more reason for you not to post something inappropriate! Your current job (and future employer) can easily track and gain access to your online profiles.
Set your profile to private, and adjust your privacy settings such that any content that you post is restricted to just friends and family. Limit posting things on a “public” setting – when you do, limit your personal information.
Separating Your Private and Personal Personas
Another alternative suggestion is creating separate accounts – one for a wider audience, and another more private and personal one where you might be freer to share and post things. With separate accounts, the chance of accidentally sharing sensitive information with people you might not know very well.
Know Who You’re Talking To
Only accept friend requests on Facebook or add people that you know and have met. Fake profiles are common, and it is possible that malicious impersonation might be taking place.
Make Passwords Strong
Identity theft is becoming increasingly common, and having a strong password reduces the risk of your account getting hacked. Do change your passwords regularly, and do not use the same password over various accounts! Upper and lowercase letters, along with some special characters and numbers thrown in would work well.
Turn Off Geotagging
Many apps today come with location-based services. Instagram and Twitter for example both record the location for everything you send out. Even your iPhone stores the location of where you were at when you take a photo. This can be disabled by going to “privacy” settings on your phone.