top of page

Social Media Privacy Checkup

Social media can be, of course, a very social part of a business while engaging with visitors and clients. However, it can also lead to possibly embarrassing or uncomfortable situations. If too much information is revealed that should be kept private it reflects badly on the company. Online businesses run by just one or two people should be especially aware of this. Personal Facebook friend interactions can reveal too much to the public. A social media privacy checkup should be a habit everyone should remember.

Cybercriminals will try to steal your identity by acquiring your personal information. Default privacy settings on social media sites are in many instances not to everyone’s liking. Privacy settings need tweaking to meet each user’s personal preference. Fortunately, it is quite simple and straightforward to add some stricter privacy settings.

Social Media Privacy Checkup; Facebook

Even when setting up a Facebook profile, you can be bombarded with several questions and features to enable. A default setting will enable many of these features. You may want to disable what may not necessarily at the time seem too revealing of your personal information. Facebook is very good at using your private information to maximum effect. After using social media platforms for a short time can there be a large accumulation of data that can be identifiable to a single user.

Current workplace information, for example, can reveal if someone is working from home or at a company. If vacation time comes up and holiday photos start appearing, it’s quite obvious that the home (or even office) is unstaffed. This poses a security risk for theft, either company data theft or personal expensive items in an (office) home. Phone numbers listed on a social media profile can reveal if the voice mail may have changed to an “away from the office” message during holidays, business conventions, family emergencies etc. detailing when you may be back. Having neighbors check your snail mail so the postbox doesn’t get full may not be enough.

Privacy Inconsistencies

Unfortunately, Facebook has been known to at times to be inconsistent with updating users’ privacy settings and then having millions of users needing to reexamine their settings to ensure nothing has changed that they don’t like. A friend or coworker can view your profile, posts or small business page. They can make sure they can see only what you want them to see and ads reassurance to the option all users have to view the “Who can see my stuff” feature on Facebook. Even if Facebook has not issued a major update to all users in some time, it can still be a good idea to do a quick check and make sure everything is still set the way you prefer.

Clicking on Settings and then Privacy will reveal a number of configurable options. These basic features will pretty much make sure who sees content and who does not. Also, make sure that if you change privacy settings that it does not only apply to future posts but previous ones as well. If it does not, what are your available options?

Although there are strict privacy settings available on many social media platforms there rarely goes time by when there is not a security breach mentioned in the news about systems being compromised. Even worse is when the breach is discovered weeks, months or even over a year later. This could result in compromised accounts for a very long time while privacy settings, security updates and staying up-to-date can have no significance. This can certainly lead to phishing attacks too.

The Identity Theft Resource Center Breach Report revealed a near record high number of incidents for 2015 totaling 780 breaches.

Social Media Privacy Checkup; Twitter

Twitter simply allows all tweets available for everyone to see. They do have the option to only allow tweets to be visible to your followers. Protected tweets are not shareable by others, nor permanent links except approved followers. However, adding too much privacy in Twitter may prevent exposure to your services. As a result, this will undermine the reason to have joined Twitter, to begin with. With Twitter, it’s best to create two separate accounts since there are no personal and business accounts with Twitter.

Social Media Privacy Checkup; LinkedIn

A last but no less important topic is while using LinkedIn, you may not wish for others to know you looked at their profile. LinkedIn members can choose not to be viewable in their privacy settings. Many private viewers are recruiters looking for candidates. Others tend to be professionals who browse privately to find sales leads, potential clients or business partners. Disable this feature because Partner InMail can end up sending you a lot of unwanted email advertising.

A quick test to determine if you are receiving emails you do not specifically request (non-double-opt-in or incomplete privacy settings) is to set up a separate email account for each social media platform. This will reveal what emails are coming from where. Even a full name with a different middle initial (some allow a middle initial with the last name field) for each platform can reveal quite a few things on who is sending you emails and even how.

Social media is a very social part of a business. However, it risks embarrassing or uncomfortable situations. If too much information is revealed that should have been private it reflects badly on the business. Personal Facebook friend interactions can reveal too much to the public and make a company look bad. A social media privacy checkup should be a habit everyone needs to remember.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page