Just how much personal information should be handed over to social media sites, and what are the sites doing to protect that data? The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal brings up many considerations for social media users.
- To find out if your data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, click here.
- To find out what personal information Facebook has stored from your account, you can download a copy of your Facebook data profile by going to Settings > General > Download a copy of your Facebook data.
As with all data breaches, Warren Averett Technology Group’s suggestion is always to be as proactive as possible. Stopping the breach before it happens is the best way to protect your data. While Facebook works towards a solution, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself from future privacy invasions while on social media, without permanently deleting your social networking accounts.
- Manage connected apps. “Would you like to log in through Facebook?” This common app feature allows you to connect your social media accounts to a third-party app and is convenient for easy log ins. Let’s face it, almost everything that we do online today requires a username and password, and it can be difficult to remember your login information for every account. It is important to note, however, that when you log in and use the apps, you permit the third party to access your information at any time through its connection with your social media account, whether that’s Facebook, Google+, etc. Before you link a third-party app to a social media account, you should review the type of information that will be given to the third-party app.
- If you are a Facebook user, you can learn more about app visibility and privacy and how to manage your connected apps here.
- Use a secure network. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot to use social media, you’re sending personal information over the internet. This information is stored on a server, so it’s important that you use a secure, encrypted network when sending or sharing information. Encryption codes the information that you are sending so that it is not accessible to others. To ensure that you are using a secure website, look for “https” at the beginning of the URL on every page that you visit—not just when you sign in. Keep in mind that mobile apps sometimes aren’t as secure as an encrypted website. To ensure that you protect your information and prevent it from being compromised, never assume that a Wi-Fi hotspot is secure.
- Draw the line on the amount of trust given to your friends and connections. It is important to identify how much information is too much. It is easy for people to copy or misuse the information that you provide to them, so you should avoid oversharing. Here are some tips to help you avoid sharing too much information:
- If you are leaving for a vacation, consider posting about it afterward so that you don’t make your home susceptible to invasions.
- You should also avoid posting about your neighborhood or place of residency.
- Never post any financial information to your social media accounts.
- Avoid posting negative comments about your co-workers, senior teammates or place of work.
- It is also a best practice to avoid accepting friend requests or other invitations to connect from those whom you don’t personally know.
- Practice good password habits. Using a strong password is crucial to preventing hackers from accessing your accounts. It is also important that your passwords are unique for each site. Once hackers have successfully logged into your account, they will also try to gain access to other accounts by trying the password they have on hand. Try following the “unique account, unique password” rule.
Understanding the default privacy settings offered by social media networking sites can help you to determine what information is susceptible to hackers, data thieves or other criminals so that you can make adjustments to suit your privacy preferences. If you have apps connected to your social media accounts, it could be beneficial to read the privacy policies and understand how they are using your information. Social media can be a great way to connect with others and a fun way to spend free time, and identifying the threats that make your data vulnerable can make it that much more of an enjoyable experience.