T4L: Only your friends know your secrets

In the immortal words of the late, great Robert Nesta Marley, “only your friends know your secrets.”  But these days Facebook can also reveal it.

The explosion of social media has allowed us to be more social with a wider range of people.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (IG) and other social media sites actively encourage us to grow our friend/follower base to as many persons as possible.  And even though each site has built in protections, often they are not enforced by users.

Think about it.  Your bank and your email service provider ask a number of questions that verify that you are who you say you are.  In person, on the phone or online, these critical services often ask for your mother’s maiden name, name of your first pet, the name of the home town where you grew up and your date of birth.

All of that information is often available on Facebook.  Forget hacking into your account, that information is often freely shared with your circle of ‘friends’.  Now, let us look at that circle.  Sure, you will have your best friend from school and your mother’s sister.  But do you also have the guy that sits in the cubicle next to you at work, the Bob Smith that you thought you knew and didn’t want to rude and decline the friend request, or the friend of friend whom you hardly know but met them at a party.

Can you really vouch for all of your online friends?

Maybe you use your Facebook Profile to promote your small business and so, you’ve added everyone that sends a request to increase the potential reach of your message.  Ok.  But did you also post captioned pictures of you and your mother at your birthday party last year?  Well then, you just posted much of the information that criminals or traitorous friends need to access your private accounts.

Other popular sites like Twitter and IG tend to collect less information about users, but this information is sometimes captured in captions, if not in the truncated bio and profile slots that they ask you to complete.

Maybe you were good, played by all the rules and locked down your Facebook account when you first signed up.  Well, guess what, you still need to revisit your privacy settings, because they change the rules all the time, and often without warning.

So, take a moment, TODAY to visit your social media site and adjust the settings.

  •    Limit who can see posts and personal information
  •    Limit the volume of personal information posted overall
  •    Untag yourself in unfavorable or revealing images
  •    Limit access to your location information
  •    Remove unnecessary third party apps

After you have made the tweaks, be vigilant and always consider whether is it is necessary to post online.  Finally, set a calendar reminder to review and tweak again in three months.  Happy sharing!

Tech4Life airs every Wednesday morning on RJR 94 FM.

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