With social media services such as Facebook coming under constant attack regarding privacy, more and more people are starting to fear the online world and the integrity of their personal lives. Few people, however, decide to boycott social media entirely, as it has become something that many of us rely on. Even those who only use social media for keeping in contact with friends while turning on all of the privacy features available may still be leaving themselves open to scrutiny online. After all, it is now a well-known fact that many people, from potential employers to possible romantic interests, use social media to find out all that they can about the other party.
Maintaining your privacy on social media is essential for preserving your online identity and the fact of the matter is that, in the modern world, everyone needs to pay attention to online privacy even if they are steadfastly against things such as social media. Even if you have never had a Facebook account, for example, other people could still be posting compromising information or images relating to your private life. The following tips will help you to maintain your privacy when using Facebook and other social networking services.
Think Before You Post
Whether it is a Tweet on Twitter or a post on Facebook, it is absolutely essential to remember that, effectively, it is there forever for the entire world to see. You might think that you are posting something that only your friends might see but, the fact is that, once the information is on the Web, people can share it and publish it anywhere they want.
Always think before you post something. Do you really want the whole world to know about your political or religious affiliation? Do you want someone online to have personal information about you or your family?
Even if you suddenly decide that you want to remove a post that you regretted, it may still come back to haunt you later on. People can share it for a start. With Facebook, all of the posts that people thought they had deleted suddenly came back when they were forced to change to the new Timeline feature. Social media cannot entirely be blamed for lack of privacy, however – more than anything, it is up to you to think before you post.
It should also go without saying that you should never, under any circumstances, place any personal or financial information on social media sites. You should even be wary when providing such information over chats. Never take the privacy settings for granted and always prepare for the worst. Remember that every bit of information you put can have its consequences.
Be Mindful of What Others Post
No matter how seriously you take your privacy on social networking sites, you have relatively little control over what others post. Many of us have some rather thoughtless friends who think nothing of posting an embarrassing picture of a drunken night out. In the worst case scenarios, people may even be trying to impersonate or even stalk you online. This is, of course, completely illegal and may even be a matter for the police to take care of.
While you only have a limited degree of control over what others post about you on sites such as Facebook, there are some extra steps you can take. For example, with Facebook, you can disable the tagging feature which enables your friends to tag you by attaching your name to a post or a photo. Unfortunately, however, the post or photo will still be there and, if it is something you would rather not have online at all, your only option is often to approach your friend and ask them kindly to remove it. If a post or photo is deeply inappropriate, then you may also want to report it. Another privacy setting that you may want to consider on Facebook is to remove the ability for others to post on your wall entirely. Finally, consider using a pseudonym for your social media profile.