In today’s world, social media privacy is essential. It seems like everyone wants to connect via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to update friends and family on their personal lives. Many people connect through platforms like LinkedIn as well to share work stories, advice, and inspiration.
But when you consider how much information transitions from private to public once you post it online, checking on your social media privacy becomes more important than ever. And what better time to check on your accounts than Privacy Month?
What is social media privacy?
Social media privacy simply refers to what information is accessible to a certain audience online. Of course, you can only do so much to protect your information from scammers and cybercriminals. But being careful about what you post and paying attention to privacy settings can go a long way.
Everyone is affected by privacy issues with social media, from Facebook users sharing photos of their grandkids to tech lovers who immerse themselves in VR. And while it’s great to use social media mindfully, your privacy is important no matter how your daily usage looks.
What are some common privacy issues with social media?
With all this talk of social media privacy threats on the horizon, you’re probably wondering what the big deal is. After all, what’s the harm in posting about a fun family trip you’re taking, or some interesting details about the area where you live?
Unfortunately, personal details can be used against you in various ways such as:
- Identity theft. (Think of security questions like “Which street did you grow up on?”)
- Phishing scams, which can snowball beyond identity theft to full-blown financial chaos.
- Other financial scams that involve sending or receiving money (like the notorious Craigslist check scam).
- Physical dangers such as break-ins.
- Unwanted data sharing for advertising purposes.
- Doxing and cyberbullying, which can lead to embarrassment, and even long-term reputational damage.
You don’t want a simple social media post to turn into a frustrating, potentially dangerous mess. Personal profile information and posts with photos and videos can even be used to impersonate you. So can status updates with revealing information about your personal hobbies or location. But no one wants to feel like they can’t enjoy social media. So how do you stay safe and post fun details about your life without worrying about scammers and other threats?
How to make yourself more private on social media
The solutions to many of the most common privacy pitfalls on social media sites are accessible in your settings section, just a few clicks away. It’s ideal to avoid posting things about your family, friends, and location that are too specific. You should also follow these simple rules:
- Use strong, clever passwords to thwart cyberattacks. Don’t use personal info like names, birthdays, or street titles in your passwords.
- Confirm that your social media privacy settings only share your information with friends, close friends—or even you alone. Many platforms default to public settings, revealing your personal info to anyone who sees your page!
- Restrict or block what particular people can see on your social media accounts if necessary. Alternatively, you can also change the privacy settings on specific posts instead. By keeping the prying eyes of strangers off your post, you’re protecting yourself from cyberbullying, and even doxing.
- Don’t give your information to anyone you don’t know, and double-check your “friend’s” account if they send you a strange message request that doesn’t feel right.
- Pay attention to what you’re agreeing to when clicking through the user agreements in the sign-up process! You may be agreeing to undesirable privacy settings. Make sure you check on your settings whenever a social media app launches an update, too.
Many apps’ software updates will silently tweak your privacy setting defaults to benefit advertising companies over users like you! Performing regular checks can help you keep your social media privacy maximized and comfortable. And again, read through those pop-up paragraphs before you click “agree” so you know what you’re consenting to.
Familiarize yourself with privacy differences across platforms
Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram—no matter where you like to scroll, it’s important to know your platforms of choice through and through. Each one’s purpose is slightly different, and so are their privacy settings. Where one social media platform might default to friends-only visibility, another might automatically make everything public. This includes your workplace, birthday, or location details.
When you work through your routine “privacy clean sweep” to check on your settings, make sure you comb through each platform that you have. Not only do the settings often vary, but their placement within the user interface is usually different. Sometimes, the privacy controls you’re looking for aren’t where you expect them to be.
For instance, did you know you have the option to protect your tweets on Twitter? And you can navigate a whole hub of customizability in Facebook’s “Privacy Settings and Tools” section. LinkedIn also allows you to choose who can follow your updates. No matter what social media accounts you manage, learn how to navigate the unique settings sections in each one.
Secure, fast internet simplifies social media privacy.
Even if your online posts are quick and superficial, it’s always smart to do everything you can to keep yourself safe! Do you know of anyone who’s been a victim of phishing scams or other social media privacy risks? If so, consider taking advantage of Quantum Fiber 360 WiFi and WiFi 6. The advanced security capabilities and faster speeds will allow you to nip threats in the bud, or even prevent them entirely.
For extra resources on how to take your social media security to the next level, stop by our blog to learn more about what Quantum Fiber can do for your online safety!