6 top tips for controlling your privacy on social media

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If you are concerned about your privacy online, social media is inevitably going to throw a couple of hurdles in your path. In its basic form, the social web encourages sharing and broader engagement that can translate to a much looser control over your private interactions and your personal information online.

Every day we use our favourite social media channel to communicate, engage, and to maintain our relationships with friends, family, and colleagues. We also use the social web as a source of information when we are looking for answers.

Think about it — social media has been integrated into our daily lives, and it is now as simple as picking up your smartphone, starting up your favourite social application, and sharing an update to your network. With the ease of access, and our continuous involvement with social media, think carefully about your social media engagement approach.

Controlling your privacy on social media requires awareness and education about the permissions you assign to your public profile on the various social media channels that you are using. This is important because the social web is public, and everything you share and post on this medium leaves a permanent record of your interaction. Here are a couple of tips on how to keep your social media profiles private.

1.Adjust the privacy settings manually
On each social media channel you use, adjust your privacy settings manually. Social media engagement and privacy are two different things. Allowing a social media medium or third-party app to access your social media profile can compromise your data, and personal information. Review all the apps you are giving permission to access your data such as login apps, useful tools, and games.

2. Change profile passwords on a regular basis
Don’t use low security passwords such as your dog’s name, family name, or your favourite movie star. Use a combination of symbols, letters, and numbers.

Try to use a separate password for each social media channel that you are using rather than only one. Adding more complexity to your passwords will make “hacking” your account more difficult.

3. Use separate email addresses
Use separate email addresses for your personal social media profiles and your business profiles. This will help you keep your personal profiles separate from your business profiles. This is important even if you have a small business. Regardless of your company’s social media guidelines, don’t use your business email address for your personal interaction on the social web.

4. Always logout your social media applications
When you are not using Facebook on your iPad, log out of your session. This may seem like an extra step you should undertake, but it can keep sneaky eyes from viewing your information.

If any of your mobile devices get stolen, will the thieves be able to access your social media profiles and view your personal information? You can also add a password to your mobile device so that if your device gets lost, no one will be able to unlock it without the proper password.

5. Social media is public
The web is public and anything on a social media channel can go public regardless if you want it to or not. You never know when new privacy policy settings can happen. Despite the best intentions that the social media channel that you are using might have, your content can become public.

Carefully consider what your employer,for instance, would think if they saw that party photo of you or an embarrassing update. This goes beyond your privacy settings, and use your common sense when posting that new update.

6. Location based applications
When checking in with Facebook or your favourite location-based application, be careful who you share this information with. Location based applications advertise where you are at a given time. This enables others to keep track of where you are and what you can be doing at a specific location.

While it is crucial to be wary about your privacy on the social web and what you are sharing with others, it is almost impossible to keep all of your private information under your control. Someone that really wants to get access to your information can get it. It is not only about what you post and update, it is about what others share as well.

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