Social media is central to all of our lives. My iPhone screen report tells me I spend a scary amount of time on social media apps – in fact, I share pretty much my whole life on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. But while social media lets me express my creativity and lead a colorful life, it puts my online privacy and security under threat since too much information about me gets exposed to the internet.
Unfortunately, it’s been exposed that Facebook is leaking users’ online data, more than once. More than 500 million Facebook users have been suffering from data breaches. That’s a horrible number. Are you using social media services, or being used by them?
In fact, when we use social media, there are some quick and easy changes in social media habits that can improve your privacy and security and protect you online. Here are some easy tips to keep you safe and private on social media:
Tip#1: Protect Your Online Privacy and Boost Security by Locking your Device When You’re Not Using It.
Password or passcode is the first port of call to protect your online privacy and security. When you temporarily step away from you PC or put down your tablet or phone, it is essential to set a password or passcode to reenter it. This tip helps you to stop the “visible hand” from reaching your data or information, keeping you secure. Currently, fingerprint unlocking, or face unlocking, is widely used in numerous devices because both of them are more reliable than passwords or passcode alone for keeping you safe online. If your device, unfortunately, gets lost, the password or passcode can stop wayward hands from breaching your online privacy.
Tip#2: Use Browsers to Access Social Media Instead of Apps to Maintain Privacy Online.
Compared with PC, cell phones are much easier to log in to your social media account and post. However, your cell phone is more dangerous than your search engine and can lead to privacy breaches and online security risks. When you post a picture on your Twitter or Instagram, a question usually comes asking, “Would you like Twitter/Instagram to visit your photos?”. You usually click “Allow”. When you want to post a video, a question usually comes asking “Would you like Twitter/Instagram to use your camera and microphone?” You usually click “Allow”. When you travel and you want to see what the most popular restaurant near your hotel is, a question usually comes asking “Would you like Twitter/Instagram to know your location?” You usually click “Allow”. All the clicks will possibly reduce your online privacy and security. But it won’t be an issue when you use a web browser for your social media.
In addition, avoid always using the same web browser. Different web browsers can be randomly used to stop your data from being accumulated or hacked in one go.
However, web browsers are not that safe since they can remember your password, username, browsing activities and habits, and likes. Therefore, follow the next security tip to teach you how to beat dangerous elements on web browsers for your online privacy.
Tip#3: For Security, Use Private Browsing Mode and Turn Off Auto Fill Option.
To compensate for web browsers’ disadvantages, private browsing mode can be used for security and more privacy. Up to now, each web browser has its own private browsing mode. Chrome has “incognito”, Firefox has “private window”, and Safari has “private window”. These modes mean that the browser won’t keep a record of your browsing history, cookies and site data, and information entered in forms, so you can stay safe and remain anonymous.
The“auto fill” is also a problem for online security. It is convenient not to have to remember usernames or passwords, but it leaves you exposed to security risks. A good mantra is: the more convenient, the more dangerous when it comes to the world of the internet. When you set up your web browser, turn off the “auto fill” option to protect your online privacy and security. Of course, when you choose private browsing mode, this isn’t necessary because most private browsing modes don’t save the filled information.
Tip#4: Simplify Your Social Media Bio and Share Less Personal Information on Your Social Media for Increased Online Privacy.
Social media bio contains too much personal information that will be stolen or abused in the wrong hands. Therefore, you don’t need to fill in your bio as carefully as possible. It’s true that one its own, a single piece of information doesn’t make much sense or hold much value, but when all your small bits of information are linked, a very personal and intrusive picture of you can be obtained. As a result, your online privacy and security will be reduced.
All shining moments in your life are worth recording and sharing. But you have to implement security measures to protect your online privacy and security. When you post pictures with sensitive information, make sure you stay secure by masking or hiding credit card numbers, social security numbers, your name, etc.
Tip#5: Use Virtual Private Network (VPN) for the Ultimate Security and Online Privacy.
The way your data and information get tracked on the internet lies with your IP address. That’s how companies can identify you and breach your privacy, and it’s how malicious hackers can attack your security. So, it’s easy to see that if you hide your IP address, your online activities will be totally safe. Well, that’s what VPN does.
With a VPN, you can get online anonymously and your geo-location, nationality, cookies, and browsing likes and dislikes can’t be tracked by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), which quite often is the source of selling data and data breaches.
As an added bonus beyond just increasing your online privacy and security, a VPN allows you to have access to limited websites forbidden by your local government or organization. And, a VPN provides a unique tunnel for you to transfer data at a high speed and with full security.
In other words, when a VPN is used, your online privacy and security will be guaranteed at your first click. Like using a web browser rather than an app, it is another great way to improve your security and enhance your online privacy. Even if you forget private browsing mode, your online privacy and security will still be safe thanks to a VPN.
Tip#6: Stay Secure – Never Use the Same Password on All Your Social Media Accounts.
It’s truly difficult to set and remember different passwords on different social media accounts. But you have to. If the same password is used on your all social media accounts, once one account gets hacked, the other accounts will be in great danger. Get a pen and paper and write down your passwords if you have to, it’s a must-do step to protect your online privacy and security.
In addition, use strong passwords containing combinations of numbers and characters in capital and little forms. Never use simple number strings like your birthday or 111111, or 123456.
Tip#7: Reset Your Privacy Options for Online Social Media.
When you post on your social media platform, you can protect your online privacy and security by resetting your privacy options. Take Facebook, for example. You can set your posts as either visible to all people surfing your homepage or to your friends only. Make sure you choose the latter to stay safe and private online.
Tip#8: Stop Using Public WiFi to Increase Security.
Public WiFi literally sounds about as private and secure as it is. (hint, it isn’t!) Is the “Starbucks WiFi” on your WLAN list securely set by the coffee shop for customers? You never know. And you never know who’s got access to your private details and security information. If you get access to the Internet through that WiFi, your private data and information are out there in the wild – either for resale or for invasion. Worse still, the whole online security breach happens without you even knowing it.
Tip#9: Click Less Online for More Privacy.
We click millions of times when surfing on the internet and using our social media accounts. However, not all clicks are safe in the world of the internet. Spam email, ads, and some attractive videos are possibly masked viruses or hackers who want to invade your privacy. As soon as you click the link, your device security will be compromised, and your private information and data may be stolen. Worse still, a virus seed may be planted somewhere in your device and it’ll grow into a virus tree. What a catastrophe! Therefore, to stay safe and privately online, don’t click randomly unless you’re sure enough about the security of the link.