Social media is everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now TikTok, among others, are as much a part of daily living as eating. Millions of people worldwide log on every day to share their opinions and gain glimpses into the lives of the people they follow.
The growth of social media has grown hand in hand with the need to keep yourself safe while scrolling through your feeds. Following a few, quick and simple tips can help protect you and your information from those who want to steal it.
Everything posted on social media is public. Someone on the other side of the planet you have never met can see it within seconds of submission. That’s why it is essential to pay attention to your privacy settings. Every app is different, but most have some level of privacy setting. These can include limiting who can see your posts and information, who can message you and who can join to your social network. Find out what settings your social media accounts have and activate them. Adding these restrictions can go a long way in keeping you and your information safe.
One of the first things you do when creating a social media account is create a profile. This allows other users to identify you. Most will include your name, but some may ask for your birthday, email, phone number, or other personal details. This information could be used to steal your identity. Keeping profile information to a minimum will keep your identity better protected.
Checking in on Facebook or live-tweeting an event can be a fun way to catalog your experience, but providing real-time location data can pose a risk to your safety. Sharing location information tells people where to find you. These people may not be someone you wish to interact with for various reasons. Location sharing also tells them where you are not. Posting vacation photos with a location tag of the resort you are staying at provides thieves the perfect opportunity to take action.
Most of us don’t think twice before sharing a photo online. Did you know that someone can use the information in an image to identify where it was taken even when location sharing is turned off? Things like house numbers, street signs and other information hidden in the background of a photo can be the key to identifying the location or gaining additional access to personal information. Check your pictures for identifying information for yourself or the site before posting it to keep yourself better protected.
Remembering the username and password for accounts you don’t often access can be difficult. That’s why so many people use autosave features for their login information. While these may be convenient, they can make your accounts more susceptible to hackers. Turning on two-step authentication is a simple way to help protect against this. While going through extra steps to log into your account can be frustrating, keeping your information more secure is worth it.
Social media can be remarkable. When used safely, it can allow us to explore the world in new and exciting ways. Taking a few extra minutes to ensure your social safety helps keep the experience positive regardless of the platform. It’s easy to get distracted by likes and shares and forget about social safety. Following these basic safety guidelines can help ensure you have a positive experience no matter the platform you choose.