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It’s that dreaded time of year again when well-meaning family and friends share the “Facebook Privacy Status”. I try not to laugh too hard when the message comes around because, as I mentioned the folks sharing it mean well. They truly do. The thing is most people aren’t aware of how social media works, nor are they aware of the various ways they can protect themselves online. As with anything online, once it’s out there you can’t take it back. So, the biggest way to protect yourself is to THINK before you SINK! Social media is an ocean and you are the little boat trying to navigate it. Always think about the consequences that could come with a particular post especially from a business/career standpoint.
Aside from thinking, what other ways can you really protect yourself on Facebook?
Get Acquainted with the Privacy Settings
Facebook privacy settings allow you to control a variety of things. From who can see your post to who can send you messages and friend requests. Facebook privacy settings are the first line of defense in protecting your privacy online.
Be Mindful of Your Circle
In the age of online social networking, it’s easy for our “friends” list to look more like the yellow pages and less like an actual representation of who our friends are. As hard it may be to fight the impulse to add the lady you met at the grocery store to your private page, I implore you to THINK before you SINK! While she may be a lovely lady that doesn’t mean she needs access to your Facebook page. Get to know a potential new friend through email or in person before you allow them to cross that online threshold. Because, not every friend request is from an actual friend. Haters live online too. Remember that.
Stay Up-To-Date on Facebook Changes
Facebook changes frequently. Some of these changes go unnoticed. Others crash the page and send users into a panic. The thing each change has in common is the fact that Facebook informs its users through their official channels. Monitor these official avenues of communication, because some of their changes can put your privacy at risk. It’s not Facebook’s job to protect your privacy, it’s yours.
Acknowledge and Accept that Facebook Sells Your Information
Whenever you browse a website, click the like button, or share a link that information is recorded. It’s why the ads that show on your side panel are of things you’ve looked at or liked recently. Facebook makes a lot of money through the information you freely give them. If you don’t want Facebook to have this information don’t like anything, don’t share anything, don’t do anything online! Which leads to the next point.
Delete Your Facebook Account
If you really want to protect your privacy online don’t use social media. That may sound harsh, but the reality is that there is no surefire way to protect your identity once you step into the world wide web. There are steps you can take in order to use social media wisely, but at the end of the day if it’s online it’s up for grabs.
Social media is powerful, but in the wise words of Ben Parker “with great power comes great responsibility”. Use it wisely my friends and you’ll have a -mostly- enjoyable experience.
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