As of January 2018, it is estimated that Facebook has approximately 230 million users, making it the biggest social media network across the globe. It is a place where we connect with family, friends and loved ones regardless of how far away they may be – sharing photographs, stories, and life updates all in one convenient, easy to use location.
Unfortunately, as the platform grew in popularity, there were a number of potential privacy risks that came to light for those that used it. These often-overlooked points of concern may open the door for child predators, con artists, and identity thieves, or they may tarnish your reputation online threatening future relationships or employment opportunities. While there is no social media platform free from risk, recognizing and understanding these points will empower you to take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
Protect Your Privacy: 13 Things You Need to Delete from Facebook ASAP:
#1 – Your Relationship Status
While there are some situations where this isn’t a big concern, for example simply stating you are married if you are already wearing a wedding ring every day may seem obvious, for those that are still in the dating game, why would you share a running play by play of your dating life? Reserve this information for the people that are meaningful in your life.
#2 – Photographs of Children
Whether they are your children or other kids that you have a close relationship with like a niece or nephew, or a friend’s child, you should think twice before posting pictures of children online. First, your children are too young to consent to their photo being made public. Secondly, you risk those pictures falling into the hands of child predators. Don’t risk their safety.
#3 – Where Your Child Attends School
Once again, considering the actions of child predators, be cautious not to share information about where to find your child such as posting where they attend school, or what recreational groups they are a part of. This information could be used to gain access to your child.
#4 – Drunk or Questionable Photographs
Once used just to connect friends and family members, today social media is one of the first places that potential employers look. If your profile is full of random drunken photos, parties you’ve attended or stupid stunts that you have pulled it will paint a less than responsible picture of who you are.
#5 – ‘Friends’ You Don’t Know
For some, Facebook became a popularity contest where it was about how many friends you could accumulate rather than connect with those that you actually know. The danger with friend collecting is that you don’t’ know who is on the other side of that computer. Accepting that random friend request may actually be putting yourself at risk, don’t do it.
#6 – Your Credit or Debit Card Information
This may seem obvious; however, you may be surprised! If you are making a payment online, such as purchasing Facebook Ad space, always go back and remove your card information afterward. This information, when stored online, is available to be hacked by
#7 – Your Phone Number
In our highly technology driven world, your phone number can actually someone with a great deal of information. Not only are you making it easier for a con artist to steal your information, but consider this for a moment – would you walk down the street handing out your phone number to everyone you met? No! Why? Because you don’t want everyone to have it. So why would you make it public online?
#8 – Posts that You Have Been Tagged In
When you get a notification that your buddy or family member tagged you in a post, pay attention to what it may be. The photos and posts that you share are not the only ones that others will see if they are searching you on social media. Untag yourself from anything that may paint you in a negative light.
#9 – Your Birthday
Sure, it feels great to get that flood of messages on your birthday, as Facebook reminds everyone that it’s your big day. However, by putting your birthday out there publicly you are actually making it easier for those looking to steal your identity by providing them with key information.
#10 – Your Manager or Supervisor
While you aren’t going to intentionally post something that will create concern with your boss, why risk it? Something as simple as a picture from your night out with friends, or a post referencing your annoyance with a situation at work in passing may create trouble for you at work. Just don’t tell your boss that you have social media, there’s no need to advertise that.
#11 – Location Services
This one simple setting on your Facebook account may have some serious consequences. Consider for a moment, you head out for some drinks with your friends, your Facebook revealing that you are currently at your favorite bar when you post. You have now told the rest of the world that your house is empty, providing a window of opportunity for those who may wish to break in. Not only that, you are telling everyone where to find you at any given moment, even if you don’t want to be found by them. Turn off location services.
#12 – Where You Go on Vacation
Even if you have your location services turned off, you may still be advertising that it is an ideal time to break into your home. How? Consider your last big vacation. Did you post pictures of yourself on vacation while you were there? Did you share plans for your upcoming vacation before you left? You might as well put a sign on your front lawn.
#13 – Your Travel Tickets/Plans
It can be really exciting to finally get that boarding pass for your next flight or ticket for your cross-country train trip, but sharing that information on social media is once again equal to inviting potential robbers and predators to visit your home.