How to stay safe on Social Media in 2019


How to stay safe on Social Media in 2019

No matter what platform you frequent the most, social media is becoming a huge part of our lives. Whether you just use Facebook to talk to Grandma or stay in touch with your younger siblings using Snapchat, it can be easy to quickly fall into a trap on social media, or become influenced by what you’re seeing on your timeline. However, there are ways to keep your wits about you on social media, and things to do in order to ensure that your experience online is safe.

Don’t give away too much about yourself

This might seem obvious, but we all know someone who overshared every minute detail of their life over social media, from the food they eat to the places they’ve been. Your social media account might just be a passport for someone to harvest all of your data and potentially socially engineer sensitive personal details about yourself. Additionally, while Facebook is a good way to reconnect with friends, details such as your address or phone number should always remain private!

Be careful with who and what has access to your accounts

While we’re on the topic of oversharing, it’s a given that you should never tell someone else your social media password. They will be able to see all of your conversations with people and will be able to access your entire account in general, it’s just a bad idea. Additionally, some apps or services may ask for access to your accounts. It’s recommended that you take a look at what information these apps and services are actually requesting which may raise some alarm bells for you. If any of them look dodgy, or if you’ve not used one for a while, it’s best practice to get rid of it, just to make sure that they are not harvesting whatever data they are collecting from you as a result of being connected to their app or service.

Fact-check what you see online

It’s easy to scroll past a “fact” on social media, however, it’s worth taking a look at fact-checking some of what you see online. It has been proven that fake news and articles are rife online, so you need to stay smart, and informed about what you’re seeing. If you see an article posted, why not double check it on Google or try to make sure that the information is legitimate. Many political groups use social media as a tool for influence, meaning that you should always be vigilant!

Change your passwords regularly

With the news being full of data breaches from companies seemingly every week, you will want to change all of your social media passwords regularly, just to ensure that if you are caught up in a data breach, malicious hackers will not be able to get into your account and read all of your personal messages and potentially get access to even more of your data than they already have. This is a best practice with pretty much any platform that you submit a password on. If you struggle to remember different passwords, consider using password managers.

Be careful with what you say

While social media is your platform to let others know what’s going on. The Communications Act 2003 states that it is an offence to send a message that is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing over a public electronic communications network. This is basic conduct that recently found a man guilty and fined for making his dog do a “Seig Heil” salute in April 2018. Be sure to follow these guidelines when posting, otherwise, a post which can be construed as extreme or offensive could see legal action taken against you.