With the New Year fast approaching many of us are making resolutions. These may include things like workout more, save more money, or write more blog posts. But what about making a resolution to be more safe? For a lot of us, social media is our lifeline. And while we hope that everyone else on social media is doing what they are supposed to do, we cannot always count on that. As a matter of fact, as I am typing this message a fellow blogger just posted on Facebook that someone is using photos of her and her family on their fake Facebook page. This same blogger has had a problem with this before! While you cannot 100% protect yourself from someone stealing your photos, you can try to protect your data.
And while for many of us social media is our business, and we have to put a fair amount out there, there are still some things that we can do to stay safe.
We worry about being safe in our homes and cars. We purchase homeowner’s insurance, and we purchase car insurance. We should care about being safe online as well. I have partnered with MetLife Auto & Home® to share a few tips about staying safe online.
Close Unused Accounts: I sometimes sign up for accounts on sites just to try it out. I may then decide that I no longer want to use the site. Thinking about all the sites that I may be registered on is a bit scary. How about you? Make a list of all of the social media sites that you have signed up on. Close accounts on the social media sites that you are no longer using. These sites may have access to some of your personal information (such as your e-mail address or phone number).
Cleanup Your Friends List: When you work in social media, you can have a lot of online contacts. Consider how you choose and accept “friends”. Do you only connect with close friends and family or do you also allow for friends-of-friends, business contacts, and anyone you’ve met “in real life”? I have a mixture. It’s good to set and stick to rules for how you’ll accept friend requests and which social platforms you’ll use for the types of people in your life. For example, connecting with friends over Facebook and business associates over LinkedIn.
Try to Share Travel Updates After Your Trip. Yes, social media folks… we cannot always do this. When attending media events and trips we are expecting to tweet and share everything that is going on while there. However, if you are traveling on vacation or with your children don’t feel the need to broadcast exactly where you are to all of social media. Try to keep from clueing everyone into your daily work, social, and travel schedules.
Facebook: Know how to use Facebook privacy settings. Be aware of who can see your status updates and profile information. Facebook allows you to create groups of people and then determine what groups can see which posts. There is even a Restricted group. I have a couple of very special people in this group. Those in the Restricted group can only see posts marked as Public or those shared directly with them. Be sure to check your privacy settings and adjust accordingly.
Twitter: There is no question that Twitter is great. However, there are security issues to worry about here too. Twitter has a geographical feature that allows followers to see where you were when you posted a tweet. If you post from home, think about disabling this feature in your account settings. Even if you’re not on a device with GPS, Twitter can still determine your location via your Internet connection from a home computer.
Photo-sharing sites. Popular photo sharing sites, like Flickr, Instagram, and Google’s Picasa, allow you to post “geo-tagged” photos; they include information that can easily be shown on a map. If you take a lot of photos in your house or yard, it’s like handing a street guide to potential thieves. Disable geo-tagging for any photos you take at home. It is also worth checking your privacy settings on these platforms to make sure your posts are not public for everyone to see, but limited to those who you’ve accepted to view your posts.
Location services. On location-based social networks, such as Foursquare and Facebook’s Places, you should be even more careful about adding friends and about sharing where you are. Change your settings to limit what’s posted publicly and never create a check-in spot out of your home or anyone else’s home. Personally, I hardly ever check in for personal events. I reserve check-ins for media events.
These are a few tips to keep you safe and protect your data on social media. Check out the below Infographic for some useful information.
How do you stay safe online? Tweet your tips with the hashtag #MasteringAuto.
Disclosure: I am currently a member of the MetLife Auto & Home Insurance Blogger Program and this post is part of my involvement. I have been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.