Four Ways to Keep Your Data Safe on Social Media
A little common sense can keep you a lot safer online
Social media is one of the most popular ways to connect with friends and family, share notable personal moments, promote causes you care about, raise awareness of important issues, interact with businesses, network with professionals and stay current on news and events.
For its many upsides, social media has drawbacks, too.
The information users share on social media platforms has the potential to be seen by anyone. Weak passwords and careless practices such as not logging off from public computers opens profiles to hacking and misuse of personal data. Sharing personal information can be a security risk and can expose users to danger from people who want to use that data for malicious reasons—including identity theft or to damage someone’s reputation.
Social media encourages making connections and staying engaged; It’s a useful tool both for personal networking and business, but all users should be responsible on these platforms. The good news is, it’s easy. By using strong passwords, implementing account security tools and using common sense, you can prevent your personal information from being exposed and exploited.
Take note of these practices and use them to protect your personal information and keep yourself and your data safe online.
1. Take advantage of two-factor authentication
Use two-factor authentication to log in to your accounts. A two step process to authorize your identity offers another layer of protection for your information. An example of two-factor authentication is this: After entering your username and password, an authorization code is sent to your mobile phone. Once the code is entered, you are granted access to your account. The extra time it takes to gain access is worth the greater security of your data.
2. Power-pack your passwords
Use a unique password for each of your social media accounts. Instead of a password containing generic words and number combinations, try a passphrase. Think of a sentence you can easily recall but that would be difficult to guess. Take the first letter of each word in the phrase and create a password. Make the phrase even stronger by mixing in symbols, special characters and a combination of upper and lower case letters.
3. Think before you post
Limit the identifying information you post about yourself and other people. Cybercriminals and other bad actors sometimes search social media accounts for clues about what information you might use in your passwords.
4. Review privacy tools and permissions
Take advantage of data protection tools that social media platforms have in place. You can edit permissions to restrict or limit the view of your photos or posts. Don’t include information about your specific whereabouts or post geolocation information. Be careful before you check in somewhere or share your location.
Search engines can collect and store information, including social media posts. You can block search engine indexing on Facebook, and on Twitter, you can limit the visibility of your posts only to followers.