How To Protect Your Privacy On Social Media

How To Protect Your Privacy On Social Media

Protect Your Privacy On Social Media

Back in the day, the only way that somebody else would know what you were doing, where you were located, and what your habits are is if they were your close friend, family member, or if they were spying on you. Today, almost anybody can go online and get a complete profile of you with little to no effort.

It’s so simple that a five-year-old could do it! That’s because most people have their entire lives and personal information posted on their online social media accounts. For example, strangers can go to your Facebook page and see the city you live in and your birthday, or they can follow you on Snapchat and see your exact GPS location!

Thankfully, there are ways to protect your privacy on social media; you just have to know what to look for in your account settings and pick up certain privacy-related usage habits.

Lately, we’ve been discussing how to protect your network privacy by using a VPN service. Today, however, we’re going to show you how to protect your social media privacy, so that your personal data isn’t available for the whole world to see. Let’s dive in!

Why Privacy Is Such A Big Issue On Social Media

One of the most common ways that hackers can get crucial information on their victims is through social media. Let’s just say that a hacker has been tracking you and has identified you as a choice target. They’re trying to use brute force penetration software to guess your password for your bank account, the only problem is that they don’t have a lot of data to go based on.

So, they do a bit of digging and find your Facebook profile. Then, they see that your kid’s birthday is on January 1st. 2010 and that you have a dog named Spot. Now, they take that birthday and your pet’s name and input it into their penetration software.

With the updated data input, the password hacking software is able to accurately guess your password by the end of the day: “Spot11.” Before you know it, your bank account has been hacked and drained of all funds just because of the personal information that you had publicly displayed on your social media account.

Hackers aren’t the only people you need to worry about either. Internet stalkers are an even bigger problem and may often pose a physical threat to you. Stalkers and kidnappers often use social media to target individuals, figure out their weaknesses, daily habits, and even where they’re located.

Do Social Media Platforms Sell Your Data?

Perhaps you’re a broke MMA fighter and aren’t worried about your money getting stolen or getting kidnapped… Your attitude towards the whole thing may be, “So what? Nobody’s going to steal from me or try to locate me…

So, let’s try something else.

One of the biggest privacy concerns that affect all social media users is the fact that social media platforms literally sell your data. They’ll take everything from your birthday to your favorite sports teams and sell the data to billion-dollar advertising companies and data brokers who then do God-knows-what with your “personal” information.

How To Protect Your Privacy On Social Media

Hopefully, by now, we’ve got your attention. Now that you know some of the privacy risks associated with social media platforms, here’s how to protect your privacy on social media and limit what other users and the platform itself can see about you and your habits.

1. Turn Off GPS Tracking: One of the first things you should do is go into your phone’s app settings and disable social media apps’ ability to track your GPS location. This will prevent social media apps from tracking your location and selling it to other companies or government agencies. In the case of Snapchat (which literally displays your exact location to everybody who follows you), it’s a huge safety issue. If we had to guess, you probably don’t want your crazy ex knowing where you’re hanging out on a daily basis.

2. Use a VPN While Using Social Media: Some social media platforms can still track you by using your IP address, even if you’ve disabled GPS privileges for the app. Your IP address can be traced straight back to your home address or wherever you’re staying, which makes it just as bad as GPS location.

The only way to block IP address tracking is to use a VPN like NordVPN while you’re using social media platforms. NordVPN can be used on both your computer and your mobile devices (both Androids and iPhones).

When you’re connected to a VPN network, your internet traffic and data will be re-routed through a server in another region, making it appear as if you’re located somewhere halfway around the world or just in another region of your own country.

3. Don’t Post Content That You Don’t Want To Be Sold: This tip is a little bit more obvious… still, we could all use a reminder sometimes. Re-think every piece of content that you post on social media. Whether it’s a Facebook status update, a location tag on an Instagram photo, or an opinionated Tweet, once it’s posted you can’t take it back.

Even if you “delete” the post, the social media platform still owns the post and will store it away on one of their servers. They can then sell the contents of your post to third-party advertisers, data brokers, and even law enforcement (if you’ve been talking about illegal topics).

4. Avoid Using Social Media API Logins: For simplicity, many different apps and programs allow you to create an account and log in using your social media accounts. We generally recommend not doing this, as the social media platform will then be able to record your usage of that particular app.

5. Hide Activity Status: Ever log into your Facebook and then receive a bunch of random DMs and messages all at once? Well, that’s most likely because your activity status is turned on and all of your friends can see that you’re active on the app.

Thankfully, most social media platforms allow you to hide or disable your activity status. This allows you to freely use the social media platform without all of your friends and followers seeing that you’re active. While you’re at it, you may also consider turning off read receipts, so your friends can’t yell at you for reading their messages and not responding.

6. Don’t Complete Your Profile Information: One of the simplest ways to limit the amount of data that social media platforms have on you is to not complete your profile information. They’ll often prompt you to “complete your profile” by filling out your birthday, the school you went to, tagging your family members, and providing them with other personal information.

However, you are almost never required to complete all of this information. The less personal information that you have posted on social media accounts, the less you’ll have to worry about hackers accessing private data or social media platforms selling your data to third-party data brokers and advertisers.

Social Media About

Final Tips

For the most part, social media is a wonderful innovation. It’s unprecedented in its ability to connect users from around the globe to each other and has created a whole new way of achieving social mobility.

Through social media, an impoverished teenager can rise among the ranks and make a full-time living as an influencer, start a charity program, or share their art with the world. Estranged family members can reconnect, and new friendshCips can be made with like-minded people from all around the world.

However, social media does come with a sacrifice. Sure, they are free to use; but in return, they take your personal data and sell it to advertisers. That being said, there are ways that you can protect your privacy online, from using a VPN to mask your IP address/location to limiting the amount of personal information that you openly share with platforms.

As long as you’re intelligent about how you use social media, these platforms are amazing tools to meet new people and impact the entire world.