Social media has reached internet saturation to the point where it is inescapable. In order to succeed in today’s world, you simply need to use one platform or another. It might even be required for your business in order to generate publicity. Yet while change is occurring, many users are rightfully concerned about their privacy rights and the security of their information. They are uncertain about what could get out into the open and what their data might be used for, and they want to know what power they have.
Here are some ways that you can protect yourself while using social media:
Read Any Agreements
While this can be a boring task, it is vital that you read the user and/or privacy agreements before you use a social media platform and after they make any changes. While many of the things you don’t like will be inescapable, at least you will know what you can do in terms of your rights, giving you an upper hand on both the companies and many users who do not wish you well. Stay vigilant, as companies will often try to sneak things in while the user isn’t paying attention.
There are certain things you will want to look out for in the agreements. You need to know whether these companies will analyze and sell your data, whether they will use it for advertising purposes, and whether you can request for them to not share it with anyone. You also need to check your rights and know exactly what you can delete on social media, as while it won’t wash away a problematic post, it will help with damage control.
Pick Your Friends Wisely
You might be concerned about safety or privacy, but your “friends” might not be so worried. Some of them might be gullible enough to click on an app or a link that will try to invite you into its trap as well, either spamming your page with worthless posts or in worst case scenarios infecting your computer with malware. You cannot allow them to do this, and the integrity of your profile and computer should matter more than their unsafe internet “friendship” or followership.
The unfriend, unfollow, and block buttons are your best tools. You do not need your feed blowing up with bothersome or upsetting material, and you certainly don’t need any form of harassment in your life. Were you aware that some credit companies will adjust their offers based on the friends you have on social media? Don’t you think employees might notice if most of your friends online are problematic characters? There are consequences to accepting every request, and there are ways to cut someone out without being aggressive.
Invest in a VPN
If you use your smartphone to connect to social media at a cafe or other public location, you will want to invest in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you own a smartphone that has a social media app, there is actually the likelihood that your device is automatically transferring data to receive notifications, meaning that your data is in danger whenever you automatically log in to a public network where hackers can intercept your login info.
Using a VPN will make using public networks safe. They work by connecting your computer to an offsite secure server via an encrypted connection. This encrypted connection will act as a “tunnel” of sorts that all of your data (including social media data) can travel through safely, not allowing onlookers and hackers to know anything more than the fact that you are using a VPN. The VPN will also mask your IP address, allowing you to stay anonymous online so no one can track your location or activity.
As for finding which VPN is right for you to use, it is recommended to look through some reviews on the matter. You will want to find a VPN that won’t slow you down, will keep you safe on public networks, and has many server options available. Sites such as Secure Thoughts and Computer World will prove very useful for finding the perfect VPN for you.
Read More: The Negative Effects Of The Social Media
Don’t Share Too Much or Too Often
Whatever you share online on social media is out there forever, with contacts and the internet at large able to take screenshots of anything embarrassing or incriminating before you can delete it and spread it across the internet. Make sure to think twice whenever you think about hitting the “send” or “share” button on any social media website.
You should also take care not to post too often so people cannot collect too much information on how you live your life. You’d be surprised at how specific people get when they tag their location data, almost inviting trouble onto their doorstep. There are even reports of thieves breaking into a house because they knew the owners were out of town that week due to a Facebook post.
Overall, the most important thing is to use good judgment on social media just as you do with everything else in your life. If you have all of the right information, you will make the decisions that are best for you.
Thank you for reading, and my hope is that this article will open your eyes as to some of the dangers and risks of social media as well as give you ways that you can protect yourself.