Despite what you may have learned with this week’s #MarketingMonday segment about your online privacy, you do have control over what you share through your devices and online. The following tips are ways you can be proactive in managing your online privacy.
Avoid Facebook Quizzes
Your Facebook feed may have your friends and family sharing quiz results about what personality type they are, which words they’ve used the most this year on their Facebook posts, etc. You may have even taken these quizzes before out of curiosity. According to Forbes, you may be giving consent to these third-party companies to crawl a lot of your personal information, including your photos, your IP address, and your birthday.
How do these companies do it? Through their long, lengthy user agreements that most of us don’t take the time to read, and also asking for you to login with your Facebook profile. While social log-ins for websites may seem like an easy way for you to register for these quiz results/other websites, be careful about how much information you are sharing to these third-party services from your Facebook account.
Next time you find yourself tempted to take one of these social quizzes, keep scrolling.
Share About Your Vacation AFTER You Return
Sharing photos on Instagram of your amazing trip in Iceland may seem harmless: after all, your audience is primarily family and friends. However, this information could fall into the wrong hands: according to the Boston Globe, burglars could be checking your newsfeed and figuring out opportunities to rob your home. If you are on vacation with family or friends, don’t tag them in vacation posts, since you will also potentially be putting them in danger of being robbed.
Even if your social media accounts are ‘private’, you may still never know who will have seen/shared your adventures with other parties who could take advantage of your absence from your home. Save all your vacation photos for after you return, when you can sift through your photos and upload the best moments (and also be safely back home).
You Don’t Need to Check In Everywhere, Either
There was a period of time when I’d enjoy checking in via Foursquare or Yelp to whichever establishment I was at around town; however, this information can also be used by burglars to be aware of my whereabouts, i.e., not at home. According to the above Boston Globe article,
“If you’re announcing your flight departure from Boston to Copenhagen on Facebook, you’re letting people know that your home is ready to be burgled. Every time you check in at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, or post a photo of your meal at Sixieme Sens in Paris, you’re using a digital bullhorn to announce that your apartment is empty.” – Christopher Muther, Boston Globe
If you really must keep track of all the restaurants you visit, you can check in on your way out of the restaurant.
Along these same lines, turning off geotagging on your phone can prevent your social network apps from tracking your location in real time (Facebook is notorious for this).
Be Conscientious Of Your Children’s Online Privacy, Too
Even though the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has been around for almost two decades, this act only protects children who are actively browsing the internet with their parents’ consent. Since COPPA’s inception in 2000, a new development has come around with the advancement of technology: “sharenting”, where parents share (oftentimes excessively) online about their children.
Perhaps you may have noticed the following on your social media feeds (or you may also be guilty of doing the following):
- Using your children’s names as hashtags
- Sharing the exact time of birth and location of your child
- First day of school photos at your children’s schools
These may seem harmless enough, but sharing this information is also a boon for identity thieves, kidnappers, etc. Aside from these potential threats, think about your children’s privacy overall: do you want your children’s lives to be paraded around online without their consent? “As children’s-rights advocates, we believe that children should have a voice about what information is shared about them if possible,” says Stacey Steinberg, a legal skills professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in Gainesville in an October 2016 NPR article.
“We’re in no way trying to silence parents’ voices,” Steinberg says. “At the same time, we recognize that children might have an interest in entering adulthood free to create their own digital footprint.”
We hope that these tips and insights will help you take back some control of your online privacy. What other tips would you like to add? Tell us in the comments below.