By: Stephanie Holbrook
“Did he just post that on Facebook?”
“Why would anyone post a photo of their debit card online?”
“Whoa, that’s someone’s full Social Security number ... in a Facebook group!”
Despite what Barney may have told you growing up, sometimes sharing does not mean caring. Being in the social media game for almost 15 years, you can bet I’ve seen some strange things. The first time I saw someone post a photo of their full debit card (front and back, no joke) on Instagram, I wanted to call them immediately and ask why they would do such a thing. The barriers of privacy are seemingly nonexistent lately, but there is hope … kind of.
While we can’t change what is posted online by others, we can be more aware of our own privacy settings on various social sites. It’s a good idea to check your settings regularly, as most social sites make consistent updates.
Once you’re logged in to Facebook, click the “?” icon at the top right and select “Privacy Checkup.”
There are three steps that Facebook guides you through to ensure your Facebook profile has the right mix of the privacy you want. First up, posts. If you click “Learn More,” you’ll be taken to the post settings to review whom you’ve selected to see your posts. If you click “Next,” you’ll be guided to the next step.
Apps are step two. This is a list of third-party apps you allowed to log in to your Facebook profile. Be sure to revoke access to any apps you no longer use. I had 54 and decided that was way too many. Now I’m down to 19. The fewer apps that have access, the less likely it will be that your information will be shared to others.
Finally, you’ll review your profile. Whom do you want seeing your phone number, email, birthday and location? We recommend changing your birthday year and phone number to the “Only Me” setting. You can go to the “My About Page” to review your full settings, or click “Finish Up” if you are happy with your current settings.
Log in to your account and click on your profile photo. Select “Settings and Privacy” to get started. Click on “Privacy and Safety” from the menu at the left. Twitter doesn’t allow you to fine-tune your account as much as Facebook does. You can, however, protect your tweets, which makes them visible to only those whom you’ve approved to receive them. But the one setting you should leave unchecked is “Tweet with a location.” This will leave your location information out of your tweets. We also recommend removing “Let others find you by your phone number or email address.” Move down to the “Personalization and Data” area and click “Edit.” Review these settings and set your preferences for what kind of personalization you’d like and what data you are sharing. Again, the less personal information you share online, the better.
The second menu item to look at is apps. Revoke access from any third-party apps you don’t use anymore. Next, go to Your Twitter data in the menu. Ensure there isn’t a birth year listed. Review the “Your Devices” area to ensure the browsers and devices linked to your account are accurate.
Move over to “Privacy” next. You should turn off public visibility. This means anyone not logged in to LinkedIn will not see your profile. It may seem like a minor roadblock for people who are looking for information about you, but every barrier you put in place does help. You can also hide your last name from those you don’t have a connection with on LinkedIn. Use the “Who can see your last name” setting to adjust this.
Next, change your follower information under “Blocking and Hiding” to “Connection Only.” If you don’t want anyone being able to view your profile, why would you want everyone on LinkedIn to see your updates?
To view your settings on the Instagram app, click on the person icon at the far right and then the gear icon. If you want to ensure photos of you are manually added to your profile, select “Add Manually.” You can hide certain photos within this setting as well. Change your “Story Settings” to only allow message replies from people you follow.
You’ll want to check your linked account in the settings. You can tell if an account is linked if your profile name is listed next to the social media site. Under “Comments,” change your comment controls to either “People You Follow and Your Followers” or “Your Followers” if you have it on “Everyone.”
As on Twitter, you can change your account to a protected account, which would limit the number of eyes on your information.
While it’s good to make sure your privacy settings on social media are regularly reviewed, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Why do I care?” or “How am I supposed to get new followers?” Two things:
It should go without saying, but you’d be surprised. Never publicly post the following to social media sites:
Social media is great—if you use it with discretion and put the proper privacy measures in place. While it may not stop you from posting something you should keep to yourself, at least you can try to limit the viewing audience.
The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.