How to Protect Your Privacy on Social Media Sites

Posted by Michael McLafferty on Aug 26, 2019 10:14:00 AM
Michael McLafferty

Social media has fundamentally changed how we communicate and stay connected to the people we care about. It has been an excellent tool for collaboration and expressing ideas around the world. These aspects of social media have been amazing but have also left many open to a serious intrusion of privacy. Protecting your personal information on social media has never been more important. In this blog, we will discuss the best ways to stay safe while using social media.

Preventing search engines, such as Google from indexing your Facebook information. In the Facebook privacy settings, uncheck the box “Let other search engines link to your timeline”. This will be enabled by default. Most users are not aware to turn this off. It is also advised to change the settings for the “Who can look me up?” section, also located in the privacy settings. Make sure to set it to “Friends” or “Friends of Friends”. This will prevent members of the public from looking up your information.

You’ll also want to change the Facebook Friend request settings. Many hackers will attempt to “phish” for information by sending out friend requests and random messages to unsuspecting users. You can limit risks, by navigating to the “Who can contact me?” section (privacy settings) and change friend requests to “Friends of Friends”.

Make sure to restrict who can view your Facebook posts. It is recommended to keep personal posts private. For example, some people like to tell loved ones they are going on vacation. If this post is public, a criminal could use this information to plan a robbery of the empty house. Many criminals will scan social media for easy targets and use the information gathered to plan the attack. Do not post public information about your routine or pictures of valuables.

Be certain to protect Tweets. Twitter can also be a liability to your privacy. It is advised to not include personal information in Twitter profiles. Make sure to activate the “Protect My Tweets” option. This allows the user to filter who can see Tweets, instead of having them go public by default. It is also highly recommended to use two-factor authentication. This will help protect the account from getting “hijacked”. Remember, all these settings can be modified by clicking the “gear” icon in Twitter’s upper right-hand corner.

Is your LinkedIn profile is secure? It is recommended to change who can see profile information and activity feed. To do this, first click the “me” icon at the top of your LinkedIn page. Then select “Privacy & Settings”, from there select “connections only”. This will restrict who can view the activity feed. You will also want to restrict who can view your profile, to only known contacts. Be sure to also prevent other application from accessing your information. Many applications have been integrated to share information between platforms. Only allow access to known and trusted applications.

It’s a good practice to never click on a link sent by someone unknown. Scan the link with security software before opening (even from trusted source), disable “sharing of location” information, choose long password at least 15 characters in length , use two-factor authentication on all accounts, do not take online quizzes that require personal information, routinely verify your accounts privacy settings, block applications and people you do not trust, and delete inactive social media accounts.

Social media is a great way to communicate but remember to take steps (like mentioned above) to stay safe and keep your personal information private.

Topics: Cyber-Security, Data Privacy, Social Media, Privacy


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