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How to Protect Your Data on Social Media Websites

Alert! You may need to learn how to protect your data on social media websites. Have you been trying to figure this out? Well I have a solution for you, no matter what social media platform you’re using.

A graph showing the statistics of what data respondents most fear being compromised.

According to a Statista survey from August of 2017, nearly 80% of respondents are concerned with their personal financial and identifying information being compromised. However, another Statista survey from May of 2016 shows that a surprising number of people share their passwords on social media accounts!

It’s not that friends and family can’t be trusted. It’s that a password becomes less secure every time you share it. You cannot guarantee that your friends and family will be safe with your password. So, it’s best not to share it with anyone.

 

Protecting your data is the only way to protect your identity online. We’ve got the information you need to help protect your data. We’ll start with some basic tips. Then, we’ll take a deep dive into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms.

Basic Tips to Help You Protect Your IdentityStatista graph showing the percentage of respondents who share personal passwords with family and friends

If you want to protect your data online, there are many ways to get started. Here are some basic suggestions that will help you lock down your data:

  • Don’t fill out every detail about yourself, including your birthday.
  • Before posting a piece of information, ask yourself if it could be used to harm you or steal your identity.
  • Create strong passwords, or use a password generator such as Lastpass.
  • Always log out, and never log in on a friend’s device.
  • Do not save your passwords on a device that you can easily lose, or on a shared device.
  • To protect your data, do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Master security and privacy settings on your social media. It’s possible to remind your close friends of your birthday without broadcasting it to the world.
  • Remember that a company will never ask for sensitive information over social media, so you should never have to share your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or other sensitive information in this way.
  • Do not friend people you don’t actually know. If you do, use account privacy settings to filter what they can see from your account.

Identify Websites Where You Need to Protect Your Data

The first websites that come to mind might be Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube. There are several others like your Google account which covers YouTube, Google+, and other Google products. Now that I have you thinking about different social media websites, let’s also think about non-social media website like your banking or financial investment websites.

There really isn’t a one-stop, protect-your-data shop that offers solutions for every website that collects your information. However, there are some tools that you can use that get you pretty close.

Protecting your data on social media

Almost everyone uses at least one, if not many, social media platforms. It has become an essential part of life. The problem is, your sensitive information is all on one place on these platforms.

Every app you use has the potential to collect data from you. This gives very detailed information about your daily life, habits, and your basic demographics. Security breaches pose a real threat and also feel intrusive.

Don’t worry, however. There are simple ways to play it safe on social media platforms. Here are some tips for today’s most popular platforms:

 

How to protect your data on Facebook

Most people already know about, and use, Facebook’s advanced privacy filters. These were developed in response to an growing concern over personal security on the site.

A display of various social media icons for different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

However, app integrations are important to keep track of as well. One app developer was recently caught sharing information with an outside company without alerting the end-user.

So, it’s not just enough to make sure you are only giving trustworthy apps access to your location and other information. It is also a good idea to put some research into an app company before you install. Especially if you have never heard of it before. Develop a list of companies that you trust.

How to protect your data on Google

Google is an amazing company, but they collect a lot of information in an effort to create an intuitive system.Here are some ways to play it safe with Google:

  • Opt out of interest-based ads
  • Disable web history in Chrome
  • Turn off the predictive features that allow Chrome to finish a URL as you type

To protect your data on Google+, make sure to be strict with your privacy settings and app integrations. It is also a good idea to turn off automatic photo sync features.

How to protect your data on Twitter

Just like most platforms, Twitter also has measures in place to give you more control over your data. They include:

  • Turning off photo tagging
  • Turn off location services
  • Do not allow people to find you using your email address
  • Limit the number of 3rd-party apps you use

How to protect your data on LinkedIn

Linkedin also allows their members to personalize security and data-sharing features to increase site security. Here are a few small things that will make a big difference:

  • Control your activity broadcasts accordingly
  • Opt in to two-step verification to keep other people from accessing your account
  • Keep an eye out for email scams
  • Use Linkedin’s secure browsing features

How to protect your data on Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the funnest sites to use for creative activities. And it doesn’t seem like it is a major data-access point at first glance. However, you should still take precautions because Pinterest does track your IP address and use cookies to store information about your pinning habits.

The best way to protect your data on Pinterest is to limit the website’s ability to track your information. Use a browser allows you to better control cookies and tracking.

How to protect your data on Instagram

If you want to avoid a #databreach on Instagram, there are several things the company suggests you do to protect yourself:

  • Create a strong password
  • Do not give it to other people
  • Use 2-step verification for logins
  • Log out of shared devices after use
  • Learn how to properly use @mentions and hashtags to keep private conversations private

How to protect your data on Snapchat

Snapchat is very up-front about what data they collect. They give three basic categories for the data they collect from users:

  1. Information users choose to share
  2. Information gathered from your direct use of the service
  3. Information from 3rd party apps

While some of you may be cringing at those 3rd party apps, remember that you can keep yourself safe by using apps you trust.

Additional sites where you can protect your data

Data breaches are possible on any kind of platform. It’s important to protect yourself no matter where you are browsing the web. So, here are some additional tips for other websites you may know and love:

A towering display of social media icons

How to protect your data on Goodreads

Goodreads collects data from your interaction on the site as well as cookies, so you may want to limit that ability with your browser. They also use clear GIFs to track the online patterns of their users, though the company claims not to keep any identifying information.

So, if you want to stay safe on Goodreads, it is a good idea to find a browser that has settings to keep yourself from being tracked. Google Chrome’s incognito mode is a great way to start!

How to protect your data on Wattpad

Wattpad can be managed using their simple privacy setting features built in to the website. They have put a lot of work into keeping your stories safe, and it is the same with your sensitive information.

Make sure you understand their privacy settings, and use them to control your what information you are making public.

How to protect your data on Amazon

Amazon has gone farther than most other companies and when it comes to protecting your data. They offer many resources for protecting your data, including:

  • The ability to manage who has access to your content
  • The ability to choose how your content is secured
  • Your choice as to where your data is stored, and a promise never to duplicate or move it without your permission

How to protect your data on Yelp

Yelp uses cookies and also allows you to provide private information. However, you already know how to control the access companies have to your cookies and your IP address.

To control your personal information, make sure you set anything you don’t want to be seen as private. Yelp also allows 3rd-party apps, so you will have to break out your list of trusted app developers again!

Keeping Data Safe Keeps You Safe

The bottom is that your data can offer others a glimpse into your personal life. It can also compromise your identity. It is better to play it safe. Make sure you are doing everything you can to protect your sensitive information.

Kim Beasley

Kim is a Social Media Strategist who loves developing WordPress websites and managing social media for her clients. Being passionate about helping business owners to grow their visibility, Kim loves to connect people and technology.After spending almost 20 years in Corporate America as a Technical Project Manager, Kim decided that she wanted to focus more on entrepreneurs and use her MBA in eBusiness to help them grow their online presence. Kim has also participated in Hangouts on Air with news organization such as: NPR, HuffPost Live, FOX, BBC, Business2Community.com and NBC.

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