Cyber Security

How To Stay Safe And Private On Social Media

Data Reportal’s 2022 global overview report published in partnership with We Are Social and Hootsuite shows that the world has become more connected than ever. For starters, there’s been double-digit growth in social media users, and platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have experienced significant growth in users and content. Given that most of the world was under various lockdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic, it makes perfect sense that we turned to social media and the Internet for entertainment. 

While being on these social media platforms can help us stay connected to our friends and family members better, it could also increase our exposure to online threats from hackers, stalkers, and other pesky individuals. Considering how often we reach for our smartphones and share information so quickly each day, it’s essential to think about the importance of our safety on social media

Social media scams have also been rising in line with individuals’ increased use of social media. Research also suggests that the scamming industry is becoming more structured and will involve more automation to reach a wider audience. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when posting on social media if you want to keep yourself and your data safe. 

Disable Location Services If Not In Use 

Apps like Snapchat have a feature called Snap Map that lets you see where all your friends are based on their phone’s location. While it can be heaps of fun to see where your friends are and what they’re up to in each area, it can also enable stalkers to give you unwanted attention. To avoid this, disable location services in your setting if they’re not in use. Some smartphones allow you to enable location services only when you’re using the app, too.

Parents might want to review their tween’s or teen’s smartphone settings to ensure they’re not giving away too much information. 

Go Private 

One of the best ways to stay safe on social media is to private all your accounts. When your accounts are private, you generally get to decide who gets to follow you and has access to your content. By staying private, you prevent hackers from possibly stealing your photos or videos to assume your identity.

If you genuinely want to remain private, avoid posting on social media altogether. It’s worth understanding that once you’ve posted something online, it stays there for a while and might be challenging to erase permanently. 

Avoid Posting Until Later 

Celebrities and influencers sometimes avoid posting Instagram stories, photos, or videos until after they’ve left a particular place. By staggering posts, you can avoid getting into potentially tricky situations with a stalker and prevent people from knowing where you indeed are. 

Take Stock Of The Pictures You’re Posting 

Before you post something, make it a habit to look through your image or footage and see if the content you’re about to post could be giving away too much information. For example, could your photo tell people when you live? Are you taking a picture of something with your phone or social security number on it? 

Most recently, TikToker Jason Ho shared that sharing snaps of flight tickets and passports on social media can be dangerous. In his video, Ho revealed how sharing such photos expose your full name, mobile number, and the last four digits of your credit card number. 

The e-ticket number on flight tickets, too, can give away a lot of information about your flight and when you’re flying off. If you want to post something on social media, consider covering these details. 

Avoid Using Full Names And Other Personal Information 

It’s incredibly easy to find out additional information about someone just by knowing their full name. Plenty of social media platforms make searching for users and their accounts easy. Take, for example, the social networking and forum site Reddit. Once you know the username of someone on Reddit, it’s easy to figure out the communities they’re interested in, view their comments, and post history. 

As best as you can, try to avoid using your full name or anything that could give away too much information about you. 

Always Use Strong Passwords

Lastly, protect your social media accounts with a sufficiently strong password. Strong passwords should be at least 12 characters long and contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. 

Signing up for a password manager with a random password generator could make it easier for you to create stronger passwords. A password manager also stores all your passwords securely in an encrypted vault, so all you have to do is remember a single key password to access your vault. 

While it can be scary to know that the number of social media scams circulating is increasing at a shocking rate, take respite in the fact that there are a number of things we can do to protect ourselves online and prevent these scams from affecting us. You can stay informed and protected by staying up to date with the latest social media trends and the various risks associated with different platforms. 

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