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Online Privacy

7 Tips for Protecting Your Privacy on Social Media

Being active on social media platforms means sacrificing at least some of your privacy. These platforms track who you know, what you like, what you read, and even where you go. They use this data to sell the ad space you see when using the platform. But you can still stay connected with friends and family by limiting the amount of data these platforms and tech companies collect about you.

Follow these tips to better protect your privacy while using social media platforms and apps.

  1. Consider making your social media profile only visible to friends and family. Hackers and other groups can use your profile to learn information about you to commit identity theft, send you fraudulent emails to infect your devices with malware, or guess your passwords for any of your online accounts.
  2. Think carefully about the information you choose to share. Is it really necessary to share where you work, your relationship status, where you went to college, etc? This information could be used against you later.
  3. Un-tag photos of yourself, friends and family, and ask your friends and family to un-tag photos of you. Just because your account might be private, your friends and family might be open to the public. These tags make information about you visible to anyone.
    • Facial recognition companies - such as Clearview AI - scrape the internet collecting as many photos as they can of as many people as they can (including you). They sell this information to law enforcement agencies, universities, and commercial companies. This form of tracking is considered a gross invasion of privacy.
  4. Some social media and technology platforms also let you control the advertising settings and what information they collect about you. Take some time to explore the privacy settings for the software and social media platforms you use.
  5. Don't sign into or create accounts on any app that requires you to log in with your social media account. These apps often times are trying to gain access to the personal data on your social media account to track you and collect personal data to sell to third-party advertisers.
  6. Use the "Off-Facebook Activity" tool to prevent Facebook and advertisers from sharing *some* of your information with each other. Social media platforms, like Facebook, track what you do on the internet even when you're not signed in to your social media account. They do this with cookies and by partnering and sharing data with advertisement companies.
  7. Avoid "checking-in" your location or disable to the geotagging features on your account. By tracking your travel habits and where you go, advertisers and others can learn a lot about you.