How to Manage Your Social Media Privacy Settings

Background

Whenever Nasir is hanging out with his friends, he posts a lot of photographs and checks in from different places they visit.His friends tell him to be careful about sharing too much sensitive information. He realises they're right, and now wants to find out the best way to manage his social media settings.

We post a lot of information about ourselves across various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, amongst others. As a result, many people who use social media share far too many personal details. But they have to be careful because cybercriminals use this sensitive information to create fraudulent identities, and individuals end up compromised. Generally, remember, the fewer details you share online, the safer your information will be.

Below are steps to help protect your sensitive information on Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social media sites.    

Facebook

Facebook has different privacy settings for many aspects of a user’s social profile, which must be adjusted individually.

The categories of audience are:

  • Public
  • Only me

If you want to keep your information private, don’t use any of the “Public” settings.

Also, before posting a status, see who your potential audience will be. You can adjust this setting in two places.

  • The first is under “Privacy Settings and Tools.” Click the downward-pointing arrow in the top right corner. Choose “Settings,” then find “Privacy” on the left. Choose a privacy level for your posts.
  • Click in the “Update Status” field (“What’s on your mind?”). Then use the drop-down menu to the left of the “post” button. Choose a privacy level for your posts.
  • Remember, these settings apply to all posts unless you change them again.

For the most privacy, select “Friends” so only your friends see your posts.

Manage your privacy settings

With the “Privacy Settings and Tools,” you can control more settings for maximum security:

  • “Who can see my stuff?” Select “Friends.” Also review your Activity Log and  audience for past posts, to make sure they’re secure.
  • “Who can contact me?” Choose “Friends” or “Friends of Friends” for people who can contact you.
  • “Who can look me up?” Choose “Friends.”

The last option in this panel is “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” Select “No.” It might take some time for search engine results to stop showing the link to your timeline.

Guard your personal information.

Edit the personal information in your profile and consider sharing only the bare minimum in order to limit what cybercriminals can use to compromise your bank accounts or identity.

Also change your  “Friend List” privacy settings to Only Me

Manage your apps

Consider examining which third-party applications have access to your Facebook profile. To view which apps you have previously approved, access the “Privacy Settings and Tools” panel you found above, and select “Apps” from the left-side bar navigation.

Control your own timeline

Despite your best efforts to remain private, sometimes a friend’s post will give away your location and personal information. Posts that friends tag you in appear in the News Feed, the search, and on your timeline. You can counter this by altering your “Timeline and Tagging” options under “Privacy Settings and Tools.”

  • Enable the feature that allows you to review posts before they are published to your Timeline.
  • It is important to note that these updates from friends still appear in News Feed and search.

Twitter


Twitter is the second largest social networking site in the U.S. and allows users to share 140-character updates, called “tweets,” with their friends and followers. Tweets can also include links and photos. Twitter’s default settings set your account to public, meaning your tweets and information can be viewed by anyone, even by non-Twitter users. There are some simple settings that can allow you to make your Twitter account private.

With a private account:

  • Only Twitter users you approve can subscribe and see your tweets.
  • Any tweets previously made public will be hidden, and can only approved followers can see or search them.
  • Your tweets will also no longer appear in Google searches or be “re-tweetable,” (which means they can be sent on to another user).
  • Only approved followers will see any @replies you send.

To make your Twitter account private, click the wheel icon in the top right of your Twitter homepage and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu, then select “Security and Privacy” from the side-bar menu.

Under “Privacy,” check the box “Protect my tweets.”

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 6.22.14 PM

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 6.22.29 PM


Read next article Using Twitter Safely