Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media sites make it easy to connect with friends and family. That’s why we use them! We post pictures from our vacations, kid’s birthday party, and everyday life. We share lots of information about ourselves on social media. So, do you know who can see your posts?
It’s important to learn and use the privacy settings on each site to protect yourself - control who sees your posts/pictures, how to block users, and decide who can learn more about you. Cybercriminals exist. They use the information we share to try access banks accounts, create false identities, and do harm. Employers review social media sites. Do you really want your boss or future employer to see that party pic? Also, do you really want non-friends looking at your family photos?
Use the following tips when you use social media:
- Make sure your profile is "private." You’ll need to adjust this setting on each social media site. Some social media profiles automatically default to a "public" setting.
- Keep your personal information secure. Don’t share personal identifying information like your birthday, hometown, where you live, schools attended, places you worked, telephone, etc. At a minimum, use these tools to limit who can see this information.
- Create an e-mail address just for social media. Once you have your new address, just log into your social media profiles and change the e-mail address.
- Think before you post. Remember anything you share is never truly private. Protect your social media reputation by thinking twice before you share.
- Know your friends. It's fun to have a large number of friends/followers but it doesn't mean that you want to share everything with all of them. Facebook allows you to create a "group" so you can decide which of your friends see what posts. For other social media sites, you might consider having multiple profiles.
Here's a brief summary of the privacy options by social media site:
You have tons of options – you can determine who can see your posts/pictures, who can contact you, who and how people can look you up, who can tag you in photos, block users, and what information in the "About" section that people can read. To learn more and how to adjust your options, visit Facebook's Help Center.
By default, anyone can view your profile and posts as well as tag you in photos. You can make your posts (not your profile) private so only your approved followers can see them. Please note, even if you have a private profile and you "like" a public post and/or leave a comment on a photo/video that a public user uploaded, it's visible to everyone. Plus, your username will be clickable, but only your approved followers will see your posts. For more information, click here. You can remove yourself from a photo where you were tagged. For more information about tagging, click here. Remember, if you like entering Instagram contests, you should "follow" the contest sponsor so they can see your entries and hashtags.
If you don't want your "pins" appearing in search results, you can turn them off. Go to your settings and switch "Search Privacy" to "On." You can also create "Secret Boards" that only you and your approved pinners can see. It's easy to do – just flip on the "Secret" toggle when you create a new board. Also, you're not required to list your last name and location.
You can choose to keep your Tweets public (default setting) or private. With a private account, only approved followers can see your tweets and @replies. Plus, your Tweets don't appear in Google searches and can't be retweeted. Most of your profile information is public; however, some fields have visibility settings (ex: Birthdate).
Your other privacy options include adding your location to each tweet (default setting is "OFF"), deciding if suggestions and ads can appear based on your visits to Websites (default setting is "ON"), blocking users, and allowing people to find you by using your e-mail or phone number (default setting is "ON"). According to Twitter, your e-mail and phone number do not publicly appear, even if haven’t turn off the feature for people to find you by using this information. To learn how to change your settings, click here.
You want people to be able to find you and read about your professional accomplishments and interests. If you set your privacy settings too high, you'll affect your networking opportunities. However, you should still review your options so you know who can see your information. Your privacy settings include alerting connections about changes to your profile, controlling who can see your profile, and sharing your connections with others.
Take a few minutes to optimize your social media privacy settings.