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Protecting your private social media accounts, Part I

Remember that whatever you upload can be downloaded by anyone

You don’t have to be a high-profile celebrity for critics and hackers to target your private social media accounts. In sharp contrast with business social media communications, your personal social media posts, those you intend only for friends and family, require you take steps to protect your privacy.

None of us can afford to assume that our ‘private’ posts will remain so. We hear constant reports of people who lose jobs and their good reputations by posting (what they believed were) private comments/photos. Remember that whatever you upload can be downloaded by anyone–who can later reintroduce that content into cyberspace whenever they like. So, initially removing all traces of such information is no guarantee of a permanent fix.

And why impulsively post something, when it (1) would be open to misinterpretation, (2) sounds unkind or aggressive, or (3) when a few qualifying words (even an emoticon in the right place) could confirm your underlying positive intention?

Protect your private Facebook (FB) account by writing posts that–

  • Integrate honesty and tact.
  • Avoid revealing details about your work and vacation schedules (to prevent your home from being burglarized, for example).
  • Can’t be accessed by the general public or casual connections.

In addition–

  • Edit your Timeline posts to eliminate what is dated and no longer resonates as constructive or informative.
  • Restrict friend requests to ‘friends of friends.’
  • Change your Facebook privacy settings under “Who can look me up?” to “Friends” or “Friends of Friends” to prevent the public-at-large from looking up your Facebook account using your phone number or email address.
  • Turn off search engine indexing by unchecking the “Let other search engines link to your timeline” box in Facebook’s privacy settings.
  • Similarly, avoid automatically linking your other social media platforms like LinkedIn to your Facebook account. Keep your posts and contact information on FB, LinkedIn and Twitter separate.
  • Finally, require tag request approval so you can prevent your name from being linked to a post or photo. Just check the appropriate option in FB’s “Timeline and Tagging” section.

In my next post, I’ll explore some basic LinkedIn, Twitter and additional FB guidelines.

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