Social media, which were in their infancy at the beginning of the twenty-first century have evolved rapidly and today, they have become part of our daily existence. They have affected how we work and how we communicate. The power of Social Media lie in the way they allow us to build associations, relevant groups for discussions, share and collect news, stories, and other bits of information. Social media have also helped long lost friends to find one another and enabled users to form virtual communities.
However, as a user, social media are not without vulnerabilities – you are prone to risks of your privacy getting compromised. You are exposed to the entire world who can observe what you are doing, what you have planned to do, and know your whereabouts, besides knowing about your profile and gauging your personality. With many instances of hacking, it is but natural to take safety measures when using these media, and protect your personal information.
While posting information on social media, users probably expect that authorized contacts would be able to use such information. However, entities that collect information also include advertisers or companies and third party software developers like game developers who incorporate information to personalize applications for interaction with the social media.
Some of the helpful advices to keep your social media secure would be:
- Be sure to have read in entirety the terms and conditions of these sites before acknowledging. Ensure that you are not sharing your privacy settings in the process, or allowing the sites to use your information the way you do not want them to use. There are cookies which are used to track websites which you view, movement from one website to another, store information of the kind of orders placed, and build a profile around a user.
- Try to avoid sharing your full details like name, address, cellphone details of your children, age, date of birth, passport number, SSN number, bank details, etc. on these sites. Hackers could be prying on you.
- Keep your user authentication information like User ID or Password in safe custody and not share with anyone else. Change the information frequently so that such information is not copied and used elsewhere.
Though there are levels of privacy and security which can be configured within these tools, it has been observed that users do not or forget to use these settings. Our attempt here is to highlight privacy and security setups inbuilt in couple of these social media sites, namely Facebook and LinkedIn in order for you to take care not to avoid these settings in the future.
Facebook is a broad based social platform having a wide array of users, and is meant to be used by the general public.
Facebook has an elaborate and tedious mechanism of privacy setting. You need to plan for the level of settings that you would like to administer. You could use the following URL to access the Privacy Setting of Facebook.
On selection of the above URL, you would land up in the following page for which the image is embedded below with Privacy icon preselected.
As an example, you may like to click on the Edit link besides Who can see your future posts (which appears in the first line item under Privacy Settings and Tools). This would allow you to select whether your view for others would be Public, or Friends or Only yourself, or a customized setting.
You can improve your security by selecting the Security Setting as shown below. Here, you would be able to set login alerts or notifications, control App Passwords, trusted contacts and other account related activities.
LinkedIn is a social network of professionals, and is not expected to be a platform for meeting friends, sharing personal messages, share photos or play games as in case of Facebook. LinkedIn is of immense help when it comes to building a career, leveraging the contacts and associating with the professional groups therein. It helps in connecting with former co-workers and also helps in obtaining and sharing recommendations which is of use to users. It is of prime importance to protect data in LinkedIn as well from a professional perspective, as it has information related to your resume and important information like contact details. It is important to protect your user authentication information by changing your password from time to time so as to avoid impersonation or hacking of information.
In case of LinkedIn, you can manage your Privacy by clicking on Privacy & Settings link. The Privacy Controls and Settings are part of the Profile as shown below. Following are some of the activities that you can perform in case of LinkedIn:
- Turn on or off news mention or activity broadcasts.
- Select or set who can see activity feed or view your profile, or your photo & visibility.
- Select who can see your connections
- Manage blocked users
- You can also set some settings like Twitter or WeChat.
For a detailed view of all the activities which can be performed, refer to the image below.
Therefore, it is you who would determine how secure your privacy would be for the Social Media that you use. Understand better and use the security and privacy settings in the social media sites to protect your details.