How to protect yourself on Social Media » Beard Bros
There was a time when important news, pictures, information and announcements were made over the telephone or (for the more old fashioned amongst us) by letters and posts. In a big way, first e-mail and then social media changed all that. To say that today we’re in the golden age of social sharing, is an understatement. Think about it; how often is it that you’ve had a great meal and not posted food porn on Instagram? Or changed your relationship status on Facebook?
Social media has made looking into the lives of friends and strangers absolutely simple. Most of us today check our social media feeds first thing in the morning. This brings us to the most obvious (and sometimes least thought about) aspect of social media, privacy. Social media is a double edged sword, if you aren’t careful about maintaining your privacy online. So how do we enjoy the benefits of being on a social media platform, while avoiding the pitfalls? While this question would normally leave the best amongst us perplexed, thankfully there are ways to do just that. Social media can be controlled, if used discreetly. So here are 10 important tips to protect your privacy on social media platforms.
- Choose the platforms you want to be on selectively: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and WhatsApp are all excellent social media platforms. The question you need to ask yourselves is which of these platforms you need to be on. Give your choice a good, hard thought and then get on one, two or all of them.
- Change passwords regularly: While this may seem like a chore, passwords are your first and most basic protection against identity theft. Using common words, numbers, or symbols can often lead to a compromised password, that’s both easy to guess and estimate. Instead use difficult combinations of alphanumeric characters and change these frequently. This makes it that much more difficult for people with malicious intent to crack your account.
- Don’t login from everywhere: Logging into social media accounts from public computers, over open Wi-Fi networks is asking for trouble. Remember that your privacy, information and sensitive data is at stake. So using a trusted workstation, laptop (that you own) or your own mobile device is generally recommended to login to your social media accounts.
- Always logout when done: Remember to logout from your accounts, once you’re done using the medium in question. It is always advisable to uncheck the “Keep Me Logged In” tab. Memorise your passwords and enter them manually at the beginning of every session.
- Be selective about the information you give out: Social media is a booming business and data is the currency it uses. So when filling the enrollment forms for a new social media platform, be very choosy about the information you divulge. Especially your phone numbers, addresses and other contact details. Unless it is mandatory, these deets can always be skipped.
- Disable the GPS feature on your phone: Planning to share the awesome pics of the party you attended over the weekend. Do so only after you’ve disabled the GPS function on your phone. Don’t bother tagging in the location either. This is all for your own privacy sake, so take this very seriously.
- Beware of the links you click: Facebook in particular will serve you ads based on your interests, previous shopping history and on the basis of what pages you’ve liked. Now while this is convenient, not all of the billions of links created on a daily basis are verified. The unverified ones can be trouble. So be very careful about the links you click, even IF they’ve come from friends.
- Manage your privacy settings: Facebook comes under a lot of flak for a lot of things, but the one thing they have gotten right are their privacy settings. Learn to manage your privacy settings, especially if you don’t want your life events to be gawked at by all and sundry. Want to learn how to do this? Here’s a video tutorial
- Avoid cross platform sharing: Very often matter you post on one platform gets replicated onto another, because at some point in time you’ve granted access, to one platform (or the other) to post automatically across platforms. While that can save you time, it can also seriously jeopardise your online privacy and security.
- Delete old social media profiles: Not using MySpace, Friendster or even Google Plus anymore? Well delete the profile you created on the site, in its heyday. Remember, just because you forgot about the account, doesn’t mean it ceases to exist. Make it redundant, give yourself some peace of mind.
Social media is an excellent tool to stay in touch, share memories, news and updates. And with these 10 tips you can enjoy the medium without any hangups about your privacy.