Social media could very well be the most important communications platform of our time. Billions of people around the world use it on a daily basis. But with all the information being shared across so many social sites, there are huge security risks involved. If you use social media, do not let it become a risk to your personal security.
The big challenge with social media is its open nature. Unless a user takes active steps to maximize privacy, their life becomes an open book to every other user on the site. That creates serious security issues.
So, how can you stop social media from becoming a security risk? By doing these five things:
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Social media platforms implement privacy in different ways. For each social platform you belong to, it’s important to understand the privacy settings and then optimize them. For example, Facebook allows you to limit the visibility of your posts to only your Facebook friends. Why would you not do that?
If your motivation for not being private is wanting to use social to promote your business, fine. Set up a separate business page/account. Keep your personal information and business information separate. Make your business page public and your personal page private. Done and done.
Regardless of your privacy settings, you are going to have some friends and followers on social. That is the whole point. So it is important to be circumspect with all your personal information. For example, never disclose your full address. Never discuss your daily routine or weekend plans on social media. If something doesn’t have to be shared, do not share it.
Next up, be circumspect about the followers and friends you have on social media. Do not be a follower/friend collector. Limit your followers and friends to people you know or plan to be introduced to in the near future. Why? Because strangers are just that. You have no idea if any of the hundreds of strangers who have sent friend requests have done so for less-than-honorable reasons.
I remember when I first saw friends posting about their locations on Facebook. I immediately cringed. I asked one friend who told me that Facebook automatically ‘checked him in’ when he stopped at his local coffee shop. That was a big red flag to me. It wasn’t for him.
Posting your location is risky business. It is one of the things Vivint Smart Home warns against in its many posts about preventing burglary. They know that criminals can use social media to find prime targets. A case in point: checking in at your local coffee house tells people you are not home.
Last but not least is thinking twice before you post. The entire world doesn’t need to know that you are in the Bahamas for two weeks. Save those posts until you get home. People will still appreciate your pictures even though they are posted after the fact.
Speaking of pictures, it is a wise idea to never post photos of your kids if your social media pages are not locked down so that only friends can see them. You never know who is lurking out there in search of kids’ photos.
As beneficial as social media is it is a communication tool that brings plenty of risk to the table. The best piece of advice anyone could give is to use social media cautiously. Otherwise, it can become a huge security risk.