Social media, by its nature, is not very privacy friendly. Read on to learn how to use social media securely so that you can stay in touch safely.
One of the things that users should think about is why they use social media apps. Many people would describe wanting to see photos of, and hear about, what friends and family are doing. To accomplish these goals, people need to be on the same social media network as their friends and family.
When using any social media app, users should make sure they are aware of the security and privacy settings that are available. Then they need to make the best use of those settings.
While the images below are examples of only one set of privacy settings (in this case Facebook), every social media app will include some settings like these.
These privacy settings control who can see identifying information about you. They also controls who can see the information you post. Most apps allow you to choose who can request to be your “friend” or “follow” you, or even who can mention you in their own post. Many of these apps also have a private messaging feature, and you have some control over who can send a message to you.
Everyone should regularly review their privacy settings. The settings themselves change over time, and your understanding of them and your security opinions do too. Read each one, and then make the best decision for you. If you need help with this process, make an appointment with us and we can walk you through.
Even with a strong use of privacy settings, remember that there is nothing that can prevent malicious sharing of information that you have posted online. By sharing only with people you trust, and sharing only information that is not too private in nature, can you be reasonably certain that your information will not be compromised.
More Privacy Friendly Social Media Apps
Some social media apps are more focussed on security and privacy than others. Depending on your purpose for participating in these groups, one of these might be a good choice. Here are just a few examples.
Reddit is a website for groups of people to have conversations on all kinds of topics. The more secure aspect of Reddit is that they do not require the use of personal identifiable information such as your name when you create an account. The use of “burner accounts” or unidentifiable accounts to be used when discussing certain topics is common and not discouraged. This adds some anonymity to your activities.
FamilyWall helps you keep track of and share information with family members. In this private social network for families, people can add events, photos, and messages, and even location check-ins. The privacy aspect is that you only connect with your own family.
Instead of posting photos of your children on Facebook or Instagram, there are specialized sites like 23snaps that create unique, private online groups for photo sharing.
A social network for communicating only with people who live near you in real life. Nextdoor requires all members to verify their physical address. The service sends you a postcard by snail mail with a code on it to confirm inclusion in your neighborhood’s group. People within a neighborhood can then send messages to the group to discuss topics they have in common.
Connecting with people on social media requires using the same app. But you can use these apps in a more or less private way. Make use of the settings you are provided with.
If your group is small or your needs are more specific, you might be able to find a specialized, more private app to use together.
If you have questions about your own use of social media, or how to get connected to people, we would be happy to help you. Give us a call or send an email and make an appointment.