Lately, privacy concerns have increasingly gained a broader public and political debate. This is partly because of social media and the internet in light of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. Today, social media platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat
These social media sites have become the internet user’s digital billboards. Here, people share news, pictures, personal views, and nearly anything that’s going on in their lives.
The large amount of information that people share on social media – some of which is very personal –attract other viewers outside of their trusted circle of relatives and friends. Someone somewhere records much of what you do on your social media for reasons you may not know. The government, Spambots, ad companies, vindictive acquaintances, and worse still cybercriminals could also have an interest in your personal information.
Knowing these privacy concerns, we identify ways to protect your privacy on social media in this article. We believe that with the information in this article, you can take appropriate measures to protect your social media privacy.
Can you control your privacy on Social Media?
The conventional wisdom has continuously suggested that each individual is in charge of their social media privacy. You only need to check some boxes, it is thought, to move your social media privacy from “weak” to “strong” and protect your online information.
In reality, it is hardly possible to control your social media privacy. This is because even if you are doing everything possible to protect your privacy on social media, including deleting your account, your friends and relatives will still share your personal information. Even getting rid of your social media apps may not be helpful in this case.
The evident lack of privacy on social media makes it important to protect your online privacy before you share anything on any social media platform.
How to Protect Your Privacy on Social Media
Here’re some tips to help you protect your privacy on social media:
1. Read and Understand the Privacy Terms
Every website on the internet has privacy terms, including social media sites. Before signing into any social media and registering an account, it is important that you read and understand their privacy terms. Pay particular attention to the privacy terms of the information you are registering and agreeing to share when you sign up for an account with a social media platform. For instance, what content can be shared with the third party, can you delete your content on the website permanently.
2. Site Features
Ensure you familiarize yourself with the social media site’s functionality before you broadcast or share any messages. Understand who will see your messages and whether they’ll be only specified recipients or all users on the platform. Above all, understand the privacy settings and privacy vulnerabilities on the social media site.
3. Adjust your Privacy Settings
For every social media platform you are using, always check the default privacy settings on their site. Most default privacy settings on social media may permit the sharing of your information with other third-party online users. Adjusting the default privacy settings may limit the amount of information that the social media site can share with other users outside of your knowledge.
4. Biographical Information
To register an account with many social media platforms, you’ll be required to provide your biographical information such as full name, year of birth, age, or address. Keep these pieces of information to yourself to limit what other social media users know about you. Such information can provide cybercriminals with enough data to cause you harm. You may consider customizing the privacy settings on your media to minimize personal information on the same platform.
5. Account Information
Consider carefully the kind of personal detail you provide on your social media profile. Never provide sensitive information such as nearest schools, political affiliation, bank account information, former or current workplace, Social Security numbers, or general interests, among others. Providing this information may appear harmless, but it can be used to scam you or serve you unnecessary ads.
6. Friends or Contacts
You don’t have any obligation to accept a “friend or follow” request of anyone on social media, particularly those you do not know. Be careful when accepting friends or following friends or contacts with a keen consideration of why you are using the site. Before accepting any follow or friend request, research about the person, and understand (from their timeline) who they are, what they do, and what kind of content they share.
7. Turn Off Your Location
While adjusting your privacy settings, never forget to turn off your gadget’s location sharing. This way, you’ll avoid giving reviews to places and businesses you frequently visit. Turning off your location prevents your Facebook, email and Phone Lookup.
8. Be careful about posting photos online
Before you post any photos, think twice. Posting photos on social media has been identified as one of the risky social networking activities. For instance, a simple, harmless picture of your child without a name may already be revealing too much information. Advertising your whereabouts through pictures could make you, your loved ones, or your home a tempting target for cybercriminals.
9. Avoid Clickbait
No social media will take responsibility for third-party apps. When prompted to ‘comment below to see magic’ or ‘check which celebrity you share a birthday with,’ avoid clicking these random baits. They are third-party apps that try to capture and misuse your private information.
Security Tips for Privacy on Social Media
As with all web-based accounts, you need to counter the lack of privacy on social media by taking precautions to secure your privacy and account information. Here are a few security tips:
✅Choose a “strong,” secure password.
✅Use different passwords on all your different social media accounts.
✅Change your passwords frequently.
✅Avoid logging into public computers or using friends’ phones to log in to your social media accounts.
✅Use caution with public wireless connections when accessing your social media accounts. If possible, use a VPN.
✅Avoid using public or shared devices to access your social media accounts.
✅Avoid clicking on social media links, even the ones sent to you by a friend.
✅Secure your devices with password protection to protect your social media and other information in case they are stolen or lost.
In the future, social media apps may partly be required to protect their user’s privacy and keep them safe. But before that happens, keeping yourself up to date with information is a good solution to protecting your online privacy. There are websites where you can get some handy tips that can help you protect your privacy on social media.