In the 21st century, information can be a new form of valuable currency. You wouldn’t just hand out your bank account information, so why would you give away your privacy rights on social networking sites? Pay particular attention to what information you are agreeing to share when you sign up for a social media account. As an example, according to Facebook, if a user chooses to delete any photos and videos they’ve previously shared on Facebook, those images will be removed from the site but could remain on Facebook’s servers. And some content can be deleted only if the user permanently deletes their account.
Adjust the social media platform’s privacy settings
Each social media platform has a different process to control privacy settings. Before you share your post or pics, always be mindful of who can see, react, or comment.
Carefully decide whether you want your social media posts and pictures to be visible to everyone, only friends, or friends of friends, when reviewing your privacy settings for each platform. You can also make a custom list for each post. Tagging friends can be a lot of fun, but also an invasion of privacy. Also, you don’t want to be tagged in something inappropriate. Always opt to review when somebody else tags you in a post before it is published. Keep in mind, however, just because you may not approve the post to be published on your social media page, it may still be visible on theirs, publicly.
Know what types of personal data social media sites store and share
Upon signing up for a social media site, most users willingly give their name, gender, date of birth, and email address. Some social media sites don’t stop at that. They go on to collect other information like an IP address or the types of things you have liked, shared, or commented on. Sometimes you’re given the choice to use your Facebook credentials to log in to other, third-party apps. While this may be convenient, you could unwittingly allow other apps to access more of your personal information than necessary.
One way to make sure that you are not oversharing information is to always read the fine print. When modifying your privacy settings on any social media platform, look for the “Apps and Websites” option under “Settings.” Carefully review which websites are using your information.
Consider carefully what personal details you provide in your profile
Social media and networking sites may ask for additional information when you sign in. You can often include your hometown, schools you’ve attended and when, your current and former workplace, political affiliations, and general interests. All this information can be stored and tracked.
Be aware of privacy concerns in the news, like the Cambridge Analytica story
When the Cambridge Analytica scandal made headlines, people began to take greater notice of how fragile their online privacy is. Special efforts are needed to navigate any social media site’s privacy settings to reduce how much access a company has to your personal information. It’s not just advertisers and data firms that are vying for your information; identity thieves and cybercriminals also want access to your data or may want to sell it on the dark web.
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Avoid social media site posting regrets
It’s possible that your employer, or the recruiter at that company you just applied to, could review your social media profile. If you’re posting views that your company wouldn’t appreciate — like talking about how much you hate your boss — then you might want to step away from the keyboard. Once information is out there, it’s like water: it finds a way to run its course toward freedom. Don’t let what you share today come back to haunt you tomorrow.
Social media and networking sites can be a great way to stay connected with old friends and help you make new ones, or to land that next big job. Just keep your privacy shades drawn to the appropriate level.
Address your online privacy concerns with Norton LifeLock
There are other options to help keep your personal information private online. Using a secure VPN is one way to prevent companies from tracking your IP address and browsing history. Stronger passwords and good cyber hygiene go a long way, too.