Whether it’s your teen, you’re concerned about, or your personal social media, privacy should be your top priority with any platform you use, including Facebook and Instagram.
Social media plays a massive role in many of our lives. It’s how we get our news and information, how we connect with loved ones, how we save and share our photos, and we often use it as a direct messaging service as well.
There are a lot of privacy risks associated with social media use, however.
For example, if you’re in the middle of a claim with an insurance company over a car accident, did you know they can use your social media profile against you?
If you say that you were injured and they find photos of you at a party with friends, it could derail your claim.
If you’re in a civil case involving your divorce or child custody similarly, social media can often be used as evidence.
Increasingly, we’re seeing people who are losing their jobs and important positions because of things they post on social media.
You always want to be mindful of what you’re sharing and saying on social media, regardless of your privacy settings.
At the same time, you want to set the maximum privacy settings on each of your accounts and require that your kids do the same.
Along with people being able to use what’s on your profiles against you, if you have weak passwords or security settings, your information can also be stolen via social media.
The following are things to know about safety and privacy on social media right now.
Change Your Passwords
If you haven’t done so recently, change all of your social media passwords. Try to use a different password for every platform, and use a password manager so you can make them strong but keep up with all of them.
If you use the same password for multiple accounts, every account can be hacked.
If possible, you should also use two-factor authentication for all of your social media profiles.
That way, it adds an additional layer of security so that each time someone logs into your account from a different device, browser, or location, you receive a notification.
Keep an eye on your email inbox to watch for notifications of attempted log-ins, and always log off your social media profiles when you’re finished using them.
Hide Your Activity Status
Most social apps have features that will show if you’re active and online, when you’re offline, and when you were most recently online.
Disable this status.
Use All Available Privacy Settings
A lot of us may think we have our profiles set to private or that we’re using all available privacy settings, but we’re probably not.
You have to manually set up privacy settings, and this is something a lot of people either haven’t done or haven’t updated lately.
On Facebook, for example, some of the privacy settings to pay attention to include:
- Go to the Off-Facebook Activity menu, and you’ll see where you can disconnect data from your account so your data can’t be used for targeted ads. Here you’ll also find the Manage Future Activity setting so that you can have your history cleared by default.
- Don’t share your location on Facebook or any social media apps. This is one of the worst things you can do in terms of privacy, not only because people will know where you are or if you’re traveling, but also because Facebook can gather data about your location and use it in targeting ads.
- Turn off the facial recognition feature. The facial recognition feature on Facebook is used to tag friends, and the company says they don’t sell this data, but the company has invested a lot in biometric data, so it could be problematic in the future. They may want a return on that investment. You can go to your privacy settings and turn this off.
- If your Facebook is on its default settings, then your profile can show up in Google searches that include your name. You can change this, and you can also at the same time put limits on who can send you friend requests and who can look you up based on your account phone number or email address. Again, this is done through Privacy settings.
- Whenever you post anything on Facebook, whether it’s a video, photo, or a status update, limit who you share it with. You can create different groups so that you’re sharing your content only with the people you put in that group.
- Regularly go through your Facebook friends and get rid of people you don’t know or no longer talk to. Don’t accept new friend requests unless you know the person.
Protecting Your Privacy On Instagram
Instagram might be even more popular than Facebook now, so you’ll also have to protect your privacy on that platform.
The first step is to set your account to private, and then no one can see your stores or photos unless you approve them. You can also look at using a social media management company as well.
You can also further limit who sees your stories so that only specific people can view them even if they’re following you.
You should prevent people from sharing your stories too.
Like Facebook, on Instagram, you can disable the feature that lets people see if you’re online and active, although if you do, you can’t see if other people are online either.
If you have a public profile for any reason, then you should review all tags so you can make sure you’re looking at tagged photos before they post to your profile. You can set up your Instagram account so you have to manually approve tags. If your account is private, this can still be helpful because sometimes it’s the things our friends and family post that could get us in the most trouble.
There are a lot of steps you can and should take to make sure your social media accounts are private and secured. The above are just a few of the many options available to you.