Coming off the heels of Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, remember that cyber security should remain top of mind any time you use the internet (which for most of us, is every day). Take a minute to assess your social media privacy settings. We’ve outlined the basics below for the top-used platforms, so you can feel a little less overwhelmed—and a little more secure.
Facebook privacy settings
Facebook offers several layers of privacy settings—perhaps the most complex of any of the social networks. To access your social media privacy settings on Facebook, click the down arrow (desktop) or the three lines (mobile) in the top right corner of your timeline screen. Then select “Settings & Privacy.”
From there, select “Settings,” and then toggle to the “Privacy” tab. Now you’re looking at Facebook’s privacy hub. Manage settings for a multitude of privacy features, including:
- Who can see your personal information and posts
- How people can find you on Facebook and contact you
- Apps and websites that you’ve used your Facebook account to log into
- Whether or not Facebook can recognize your face in a photo
- What information advertisers use to que up ads on your timeline
- And more
In addition to managing settings for content and activity going forward, you can also review past content, like posts and tagged photos, and make selections for who can see what.
Again, we’re just scratching the surface of Facebook’s privacy settings. Take some time to go through them one-by-one, even if you need to break it up into multiple sessions to get to everything.
Instagram privacy settings
On the Instagram app, click to your profile page (where you see your profile picture, information and posts). Then click the three lines in the upper right corner. Select “Settings” at the bottom right, and then select “Privacy.”
The overriding privacy function of Instagram is whether you have a public or private account. On a public account, any Instagram user can follow you and see your posts without your permission. A private account requires you to grant permission for a user to follow you and see your posts.
Similar to Facebook, in Instagram’s privacy settings you can also determine who is allowed to comment, tag and mention you. There are also messages settings, as well as settings for restricted accounts, blocked accounts and muted accounts.
Twitter privacy settings
Social media privacy settings on Twitter are, like Instagram, also relatively straightforward. On your Twitter timeline, click your profile picture in the top left corner (mobile). Select “Settings and privacy” from the drop down list. Then select “Privacy and safety.” On desktop, “Settings and privacy” is in the list on the left-hand corner of the screen.
The first prompt you’ll notice is “Protect your Tweets.” Turning this feature on allows only current followers and people you approve in the future to see your Tweets—a smart setting for a personal profile. Other settings relate to photo tagging, direct messages and how you are able to be found on Twitter.
LinkedIn privacy settings
When you’re looking at your LinkedIn feed, look for the icon that says “Me” with your profile picture in the top navigation bar (desktop). Click the drop down arrow and choose “Settings & Privacy.” On mobile, click the circle with your profile picture in the top left and toggle to “Settings.”
Much of what will be relevant here involves how your profile appears to others on the network—in other words, what information they can or cannot see on your profile. This is located on the “Visibility” tab.
Since LinkedIn is a platform designed to help users make industry connections, it’s expected that you may interact with people that you have not met in person. That’s why LinkedIn’s privacy settings gives you several options as to what information you reveal to connections, what information you reveal to non-connections and what information you keep private.
Social media privacy settings exist to protect us and give us peace of mind when interacting on a publically-used online platform. Customizing your settings to your comfort level should be a step on your checklist when using social media responsibly.
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