Improving Your Privacy on Social Networks

social media privacyMaintaining social media privacy is not an easy thing to do. Undeniably, social networks have become the primary platform that most people turn to for sharing musings, learning about pop culture trends, staying up-to-date with the news, or consuming any other form of digital content. With the web of online relationships, and the "sharing" nature of social media, we can only do so much to protect and limit the reach of our activities on public platforms.

We all know that social networking sites allow us to share just about anything. It has made it easier for us to communicate quickly and directly. But what goes on behind your posts, messages, and all the other things that you share?

In observance of International Data Privacy Day (DPD), we highlight the importance of protecting our privacy on social networks. Remember, your friends or the people on your contact list aren't the only ones who keep track of your social activities. Cybercriminals are making their own rounds of social media sites too, as a place where they can get personal information from their targets, and a platform to get new victims using a number of social engineering methods. They're not just checking what people share online; they're also monitoring what people are likely to click on.  

As such, keeping your personal details private should be much more significant to you than ever before, because if you’re on social media, you count as a potential target for the bad guys. The idiom "sharing is caring" is still generally true, but on social media, oversharing can be risky.

Before taking the steps to secure your online privacy, you need to think about what you want to protect first. Given that you’re already exposing a certain amount of personal details, what else can you keep from the prying eyes of outsiders? Apart from the fundamental things you should keep private such as your address, phone number, birthdate, location, and personal conversations, you also need to protect the things that you cannot control such as tagged photos, and posts by checking the site's security or privacy settings and changing them. Setting the privacy to the highest level can help make it more difficult for attackers to target you.

[View the Guide: How to protect your social media privacy]

Improving user habits will also go a long way. Before checking into a location (and sharing it on social media) using an app or sharing something about your personal life, ask yourself if it's really something you want—or need—to share. Avoiding viral posts such as "unbelievable" videos from unconfirmed sources and offers that are too good to be true will also help, as these could be social media scams designed to steal your credentials or get you to download malware.  

[Watch: How to spot social media scams and how to avoid them]


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