By Max Oser*, Guest author (For guest posting, refer Terms ) Do you think you are in charge of your personal information online? Guess ...
By Max Oser*, Guest author (For guest posting, refer Terms)
Do you think you are in charge of your personal information online? Guess again. Social media is all about sharing, and if you are active on Facebook, Twitter, or any other site, your personal information is available in places where you might not expect it. It’s your job to protect your own security and safety online and offline. Take this quiz to see if you are really as savvy as you think you are.
True or False: When I delete a photo on Facebook, it’s deleted.
False. Facebook has admitted that they store backups of every piece of data ever posted, and that deleted items may continue to be visible if a friend is tagged in an image or comments on it. Even though Facebook’s terms and conditions state that you own your own photos, there is a flaw in the website that allows this to happen. My advice would be that if you want it to stay private, don’t post it online in the first place.
True or False: If I block someone from seeing my online profile, they can’t see it.
False. This is one of the biggest misconceptions out there, and teenagers, older social media users, and technology novices tend to believe it.
There are a few low-tech ways to get around your privacy settings. For example, if I block Bob from seeing my profile, he can simply ask our mutual friend Fred to show him my information as long as I give Fred, who I think I can trust, full access to it. Another trick sneaky people use is to create a fake Facebook account and send you a friend request. Sometimes they will use the name of an old school friend, or just a familiar sounding name. Add a generic profile photo, and you may be fooled into accepting the friend request because you are too embarrassed to admit you can’t remember them.
True or False. As long as I keep my profile private, future employers can’t see any information about me.
False. Facebook’s “Like” Feature has no privacy whatsoever. Do a quick Google search for your name in quotes (“jane smith”) and the search results will show comments you’ve ever written on public Facebook pages. You’ll also see comments you’ve made on other websites which use your Facebook sign in. Employers can identify pages and websites where you’ve clicked the “Like” button. While this may not show your complete profile, it is enough information to form an opinion about you. It may not be fair, but if you like the “bongs and booze” page, you may not get that job you applied for.
True or False. Even if I’m a little careless online, it can’t really do any damage.
False. If you use Facebook or other social media apps to “check in” at your local airport, or brag about your upcoming vacation, savvy criminals can figure out where you live and target your home. If you are Facebook friends with people you don’t know or shouldn’t trust, you may return from vacation to a crime scene.
It’s easy to see how Facebook can actually do more harm than good, but there are a few tricks you can use to stay safe. First, try removing your last name from your Facebook profile and use your middle name or a nickname. It’s more difficult to find the home address of Jane Susan than it is to find Jane Smith. Next, don’t check in or give location information online. There is no reason to let people know when you home is empty. (Of course, you should always use your home security measures all the time, no matter where you are.) Finally, be careful about what you post online from a legal and personal standpoint – you never want to disparage an employer, or give anyone a reason not to hire you. If you see teenagers or college students behaving inappropriately online, you may want to remind them that rude comments or photos could get them into trouble. Use common sense, you’ll be able to stay safe both online and offline.
About the Author: Max Oser freelances for LifeShield Home Security and is a not-so-secretly obsessed with celebrities and pop culture. He likes to add his own opinion to stories, and look at them from a different angle. He also likes to write about general lifestyle topics, such as home improvement, safety, and social media.