How to Use Social Media Safely?

Social media is like a double-edged sword.

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

Every individual with internet access can quickly communicate and discuss new reports on different social media platforms. You can help others by making them aware of certain happenings by using social media. Companies stalk your virtual activity and use the posted data to target you with more relevant ads based on the social media pages you follow. Security becomes a necessity if you post from a place where you might be under the administration, a possible prey for a cyberattack, or a threat of physical damage. The sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have a reputation for forgetting to protect the profile and data of users.

Moreover, if you’ve ever experienced a stalker, you understand the significance of social media safety. It is easy to guard privacy by going through the best methods of social media management. If you prefer one app or site rather than others, it is advised to explore settings deeply to make your account more secure. Before you press send, tweet, publish, etc., make sure to consider some points we are going to discuss.

· Make your account secure

· Read the Terms of Service

· Protect your location

· Post consciously

· Remove personal identifiable information

· Accept the friend requests from known people only

· Understand the personal data that can be shared without your consent

· Know the sorts of information you should avoid sharing online

· Make your accounts secure

A person can become a target if somebody somewhere doesn’t like the content being posted by him. Cyberattack is an unethical game played by hackers, so it is required to make your accounts as secure as possible. A long and unique password is the basic guard against the nasty plan of some attackers. If there are no strong passwords for your various social media accounts, change them to a new one. Once you have a suitable password, add a coating of a shield by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA). The 2FA feature is highly efficient at controlling cyberattacks, because of this, many online media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, and Apple have it built-in. Some media have even added their security review prompts, which you can track to achieve more significant authority over who can access your account.

The most popular passwords

Another important aspect of preserving your data is evading easy-to-guess passwords. Here are some of the most popular passwords, not to use:

· 111111

· 12345

· 123456

· 12345678

· 123456789

· ABC123

· Password

· Qwerty

· Password1

Make a powerful password

Follow the following steps for creating a secure password that will make it more difficult for someone to crack into your account:

· Construct it a lengthy one, at least with 12–15 characters

· Add digits, symbols, uppercase, and lowercase letters

· Don’t use the same password for other accounts

· Don’t use an old password again

· Change your passwords after sometime

· Read the Terms of Services

Every social media company has provided Privacy Terms and Terms of Service (TOS). Before you make an account understand the privacy terms completely. The Terms of Service will help you making aware of all the information the social media site is sharing with third parties. It will even let you understand if you can delete content or your account.

· Protect your location

Social media check-ins publicize to the world about your exact location at any given moment. It may be risky if you’re handling a stalker, but the danger goes beyond the stalkers. Sharing posts about your holiday plan broadcasts the fact that your house is vacant, letting criminals target your residence. You could be setting your kids at a threat of undesirable contact or attention from strangers by publishing their location on social media. Strangers may become alert that your children are alone at home while you are outside through your location data.

· Post consciously

Posting photographs is a common practice one can do on different social media platforms. But you have to think seriously before posting anything personal, especially. More carefulness is necessary if you’re uploading pictures of your children. Identity theft is a common practice by criminals specifically, by the cyber ones. They can steal your child’s identity digitally or may kidnap them physically.

Even famous and rich personalities are at the risk of attack as it’s been reported that,

Kim Kardashian; an American media personality, shared a photo on social media of a 4.5 million-dollar diamond ring purchased for her by then-husband Kanye West. Unfortunately, some of Kardashian’s social media followers had criminal intent. On Oct. 3, 2016, nearly $10 million worth of jewelry was stolen after Kim was robbed at gunpoint by a group of masked men in her Paris hotel room. The gang who carried out the attack had reportedly been plotting the robbery for two years leading up to the incident.

So, it can be dangerous to post striking pictures of electronics, jewelry, and autos. Think before you post anything damaging about someone online, similarly,

think before you speak.

· Remove Personal Identifiable Information

Remove all the confidential identifying data from your social media accounts. But if you require it to add, for making an account on a certain platform, make it seeable to only you. Don’t share it publicly because sharing a lot of information about yourself causes you to be vulnerable to criminals. Saving your name, place, and a birthdate secret is a good option you can choose. Don’t broadcast anything associated with a credit card, or banking details. Use caution when sharing information about your daily life like your place of work or the school of your children.

· Accept the friend requests from known people only

It is a point of prime importance to bring attention to. Don’t permit everyone to follow you. Don’t accept a friend request from anybody. Some of the stranger requests may be of cybercriminals. Always accept the friend requests of known people. Reject friend requests from strangers to avoid being prey to online predators.

· Understand the personal data that can be shared without your consent

While reading Privacy Terms or Terms of Services of social media platforms, be careful about the type of your private information that can be shared even without your permission. Without managing your privacy settings, your profile and posts are visible to everyone. Regardless, even if you have executed some privacy criteria, the following third parties may still have access to your details:

  • Third-party applications
  • Promotion companies
  • Country and law enforcement
  • Potential and current employers

· Know the sorts of information you should avoid sharing online

The Internet is not a good place to share everything on. Although your friends and family are interested in your life there are some people who have bad intentions. The information can be categorized into two parts:

1- Data you should avoid posting

2- Data you should be careful about posting

1- Data you should avoid posting

Some details you have not to share ever online because of its accessibility to criminals. If you think that your profile is private, it is not so. People may see your profile on a mutual friend device.

So below is the type of data you should avoid posting:

  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Social security numbers
  • Full birthdates (including a year of birth)
  • Banking information
  • Your current location
  • Vacation plans

2- Data you should be careful about posting

There are other types of information you should be especially careful about posting because they can also be utilized for unlawful pursuits, even if you think your social media account is private.

The information includes:

  • Family vacation pictures
  • Pictures of your children
  • Employment information

Different types of data social media platforms are gathering and storing

Rather than your posts, there is a lot of data that is being collected and stored by different social media platforms. Such as:

  • Private information used to make an account (name, birthday, phone number, email, etc.)
  • The content you publish or share (photos, videos, location, link, etc.)
  • Relations on the platform (who are you talking to, about you are talking to, etc.)
  • Information of the device in use (operating system and IP addresses)

Social media platforms transmit data to government officials, share it with advertisers and data mining companies (data brokers), vendors, and other social media networks, most often. For example, Facebook and Instagram have common ownership and share information. Data is also shared with investigators, researchers, and academics. For more details on who your data is being shared with, check out each platform’s privacy policies.

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