Social media users were shocked when 87 million Facebook users’ private information was exposed through Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm. This data catastrophe rocked social media users because a terrifying questions arose out of the situation: are anyone’s secrets safe? Social media user, Lily Triona ‘19, felt shaken and upset by this scandal: “The Facebook scandal has caused me to second guess all of my social media profiles and the privacy laws that accompany them. Not only is social media potentially dangerous for a multitude of ways, privacy is something that should never be broken.” Due to this controversy, it is important to learn the best methods of protecting your accounts and maintaining confidentiality.
One of the most crucial tips to retaining privacy of posts is to only post what you feel comfortable with anyone seeing. Even privacy settings have flaws and loopholes that leave users vulnerable. Therefore, do not upload something with the belief that only one or a select few with see it. This will prevent leaks and mistakes that lead to regrets. In relation to thinking before posting is the notion of limiting the personal information you share on social media. Whether this means not sharing your location on Snap Maps or removing your address from a profile, only share what you are comfortable with others viewing. Anna Haught ‘19 worked to enact this practice in her own use after hearing about this disaster: “I reevaluated how much of my information I put on social media, including my birthday and school. I made sure all of my accounts were private and that I did not put anything harmful to myself or others.”
Another practice that one should get into the habit of doing in order to best protect privacy is having multiple passwords, rather than one for every account. Though it may seem tedious to memorize more than one password, it would not be wise so have your Instagram and bank account passwords be the same because social media sites are more easily hacked. Protecting your passwords as well can go a long way to keeping your privacy intact.
A final, more difficult idea in some cases, is only to friend your actual friends. Do not let someone follow you if they seem sketchy just to gain another follower. This may not mean only following your best friends, rather just following the people you know or know of through mutual friends. It is important to know who is following you because you want to feel safe when sharing anything on social media. Security and safety is worth much more than one’s follower count.
Though some of these tips may seem trivial, they have proven success against hackers. A study by IBM states that “95% of all security incidents involve humor.” This means that if everyone worked to improve their data protection, the number of cyber hacks could be drastically changed. So next time you think of posting on social media or are reviewing your privacy settings, use these tips to keep your information secure.