Every day we hear news about the privacy concerns of social media. Nothing you do online is truly anonymous. Even proxy servers, which are made to mask your IP address, are easily traced when they need to be. But that is the nature of the Internet: remaining open, and so requiring a certain amount of sacrifice on the issue of privacy in order to be a part of it. Especially now that it has expanded to what it has become today.
But with the rise of social media, this privacy issue has been taken to a whole new level. From putting details online that anyone can read, to marketing data being sent to third parties as a cheap means of gathering what would have once been expensive information to buy, you are exposed. Anyone who has a Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or similar profile has opened themselves up to scrutiny by sources you might have never imagined.
Even the government and police forces monitor social media activity. For example, Paul Chambers was arrested and convicted in 2010 for making a joke on Twitter about blowing up an airport. Which is a common occurrence around the world, these days.
While it is never a good idea to post such things online, even those with more sense might not be aware of how much of their information is easily viewable by the anonymous visitors on the web. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to give yourself some coverage.
Limit Your Personal Info – I have come across people who actually post their mobile phone number, address, place of work and more right there on their profile. This always blows my mind. Restrain yourself when providing information.
Make Sure Your Profile Is Private – With some sites this just takes a single click in the account settings to do. But Facebook in particular is much more complicated. Take some time to go through all of your settings and account info to manually select what features are on, and who can see what.
Use HTTPS – This is a secure protocol that helps protect your information from third parties. You simply add the ‘s’ into the URL, and it will work on compatible pages. Keeps in mind that most Facebook apps don’t work on HTTPS.
Social media is great, and it is a major communications invention that has changed the way we speak on a global scale. But there are privacy issues that have not caught up to the technology. It is up to you to protect yourself and your family, so keep an eye on how you use such sites.