TomorrowMakers

Learn how to keep your private data safe on social media

Worried about your private data falling into the wrong hands Here are six ways to secure it

Recently, the Indian government rolled out new rules that all social media platforms have to follow to protect private data. The rules apply to all such platforms that collectively have more than 5 million users in the country.

According to wired.com, only 23% of the workforce at companies such as Facebook are women. So, these regulations have been welcomed with open arms by female users of social media. After all, in some extreme cases, pictures posted by women on social media have been morphed and edited to be used for lewd and obscene purposes.

Thankfully, there are some safety tips that women can follow to protect their private data on social media.

1. Master the privacy settings

According to a study2, the most common victims of cyber-stalking are women in the age group of 15-24 years.

Recently, Facebook launched the ‘locked profile’ feature. Members who are not on your friends list can only view your profile picture as a thumbnail and do not have access to your profile details or posts.

Twitter allows its users to set up a two-factor authentication method for logging into their accounts. It also lets its users control which other apps have access to their Twitter account.

Pro-tip: Check the privacy settings of your social media handles frequently. They keep updating the features that enable you to protect your personal information better.

Related: 5 Social networking groups every woman should join

2. Don’t reveal too much information

Every social media platform out there has an ‘About Me’ section. Here, you can write about yourself for your friends and other members of the platform to read.

Unfortunately, most of us end up writing intimate details about our personal lives in this section. What we often fail to realise is that this information is not just visible to our friends but also to prying eyes.

Pro-tip: Treat the ‘About Me’ section as an option. Social media should be a tool to connect with your friends and not a lace to attract unwanted attention from strangers.

3. Be on the ball with passwords

Today, almost all social media handles will ask you to create an alphanumeric password that includes both upper and lower case letters as well as special characters.

Many of these platforms also offer an ‘one time password’ or OTP option. This enables you to log in with a new password each time and protect your online profiles better.

Pro-tip: Always use the OTP option if it’s available. In addition to making your account more secure, it eliminates the need to think up obscure passwords that are difficult to remember.

4. Keep it strictly between friends

According to a study3 conducted by the Pew Research Center, 21% of women between the ages of 18 and 29 have experienced online harassment.

Social media should be about people who care about you and those you care about. To quote a Facebook meme, make sure you surround yourself with people who are good for your soul.

Pro-tip: Do not accept friend requests from strangers. Unknowingly, you could be inviting a prowler into your personal life.   

5. Disallow third-party sign-ups

The next time you feel tempted to create a new account online by signing up through a social media account, don’t. Doing this allows the new platform to access all the information available on your social media profile.

Furthermore, should your social media account get hacked, all the information on other applications that you use can then be used for nefarious purposes.  

Pro-tip: Avoid using your social media details to create a new online account. Filling in all the information may seem a minor inconvenience but it will be far more secure in the long run.

6. Avoid posting photos online

According to a 2020 article by Wiley4, women are more likely to have their personal information made public through unscrupulous means than men. So remember, one of the best ways to protect your private data is to not post it online in the first place. 

While the desire to share cherished memories with your loved ones is understandable, information shared online is vulnerable to misuse.

Imagine a simple picture of you with your son on his birthday. Strangers who view this photo will instantly know that you are married and that you have a son. Depending on how much information you share with the picture, they will also know his age, etc.  

Pro-tip: If you must post personal pictures online, make sure they do not reveal too many details about your private life.

Last words

It’s an increasingly tricky world out there and it’s only getting more difficult to protect your private data online. Fortunately, following the safety tips mentioned above can help you fend off individuals with unscrupulous motives.

Recently, the Indian government rolled out new rules that all social media platforms have to follow to protect private data. The rules apply to all such platforms that collectively have more than 5 million users in the country.

According to wired.com, only 23% of the workforce at companies such as Facebook are women. So, these regulations have been welcomed with open arms by female users of social media. After all, in some extreme cases, pictures posted by women on social media have been morphed and edited to be used for lewd and obscene purposes.

Thankfully, there are some safety tips that women can follow to protect their private data on social media.

1. Master the privacy settings

According to a study2, the most common victims of cyber-stalking are women in the age group of 15-24 years.

Recently, Facebook launched the ‘locked profile’ feature. Members who are not on your friends list can only view your profile picture as a thumbnail and do not have access to your profile details or posts.

Twitter allows its users to set up a two-factor authentication method for logging into their accounts. It also lets its users control which other apps have access to their Twitter account.

Pro-tip: Check the privacy settings of your social media handles frequently. They keep updating the features that enable you to protect your personal information better.

Related: 5 Social networking groups every woman should join

2. Don’t reveal too much information

Every social media platform out there has an ‘About Me’ section. Here, you can write about yourself for your friends and other members of the platform to read.

Unfortunately, most of us end up writing intimate details about our personal lives in this section. What we often fail to realise is that this information is not just visible to our friends but also to prying eyes.

Pro-tip: Treat the ‘About Me’ section as an option. Social media should be a tool to connect with your friends and not a lace to attract unwanted attention from strangers.

3. Be on the ball with passwords

Today, almost all social media handles will ask you to create an alphanumeric password that includes both upper and lower case letters as well as special characters.

Many of these platforms also offer an ‘one time password’ or OTP option. This enables you to log in with a new password each time and protect your online profiles better.

Pro-tip: Always use the OTP option if it’s available. In addition to making your account more secure, it eliminates the need to think up obscure passwords that are difficult to remember.

4. Keep it strictly between friends

According to a study3 conducted by the Pew Research Center, 21% of women between the ages of 18 and 29 have experienced online harassment.

Social media should be about people who care about you and those you care about. To quote a Facebook meme, make sure you surround yourself with people who are good for your soul.

Pro-tip: Do not accept friend requests from strangers. Unknowingly, you could be inviting a prowler into your personal life.   

5. Disallow third-party sign-ups

The next time you feel tempted to create a new account online by signing up through a social media account, don’t. Doing this allows the new platform to access all the information available on your social media profile.

Furthermore, should your social media account get hacked, all the information on other applications that you use can then be used for nefarious purposes.  

Pro-tip: Avoid using your social media details to create a new online account. Filling in all the information may seem a minor inconvenience but it will be far more secure in the long run.

6. Avoid posting photos online

According to a 2020 article by Wiley4, women are more likely to have their personal information made public through unscrupulous means than men. So remember, one of the best ways to protect your private data is to not post it online in the first place. 

While the desire to share cherished memories with your loved ones is understandable, information shared online is vulnerable to misuse.

Imagine a simple picture of you with your son on his birthday. Strangers who view this photo will instantly know that you are married and that you have a son. Depending on how much information you share with the picture, they will also know his age, etc.  

Pro-tip: If you must post personal pictures online, make sure they do not reveal too many details about your private life.

Last words

It’s an increasingly tricky world out there and it’s only getting more difficult to protect your private data online. Fortunately, following the safety tips mentioned above can help you fend off individuals with unscrupulous motives.