Social networks have taken over and nearly everyone in the Western world uses an active profile on at least one social platform.
While these can be a great way to stay in touch with family and old friends, the scary reality is that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and all of the other social platforms can be quite dangerous if they aren’t used with care. As frequent users of the platforms, it is imperative that we understand these common mistakes so that are privacy isn’t breached.
Like the golden rule in most sports, sometimes the best offence is a good defense. To better help you stay safe online, we’re taking a look at six common social media security mistakes!
- Not understanding the social platform is perhaps the most common mistake. So many people are quick to sign up for social networks and to create profiles without fully understanding how they function, or what security features they’re lacking. This could easily lead to dangers such as stalkers, hackers and pedophiles.
For example, when you sign up for Facebook, you actually have to activate certain security settings that will prevent them from showing personal information like location, e-mail address, photos and even phone number.
- People don’t often take the time to read the privacy control guidelines, and even when they do, the privacy controls for these networks are usually quite confusing. It is easy to accidentally set up your privacy controls wrong, allowing the platform access to private information.
- Leaving your profiles on public view will allow anyone to view your status. For instance, if you use location services to tag where you are or update photos of you on vacation, opportunists will use this information as a large hint that your home is unoccupied, giving them the opportunity to break in with ease.
- Don’t accept third party invitations! Many apps and plugins will ask for “permission” if they can relay your personal information to third parties, however without specification of who that third party is, you have no control over where your information is going.
- A lot of people will set the privacy controls on their social platforms, yet not set them accordingly on their electronic devices. Believe it or not, apps and desktop platforms often have two separate security controls and functions. If you’re downloading the mobile version of your favorite platform, ensure you read the privacy and user agreements carefully before logging in for the first time.
- Don’t be afraid to block other social platform users. Don’t engage in conversation with people you don’t know, and don’t accept friend requests from unidentified profiles or people you aren’t acquainted with.
The most common mistakes made by social media users are all easily avoided. By simply understanding the platform and how it functions, reading over the privacy control guidelines, and being cautious as you engage with other social network users, you can easily set up your social accounts to only be viewed by those that you add as friends (or that you allow to follow you, depending on the platform).
Whenever using social media, follow the three golden rules: protect your personal information, only connect with those you know, and customize your privacy settings.