Social media technology is, unarguably, one of the most powerful 21st-century innovations. It has made the world a global village. It connects people from different parts of the world thereby creating rooms for wider (human) interactions and opportunities.
According to Statista, a statistics portal, it is estimated that in 2019 there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe, up from 2.46 billion in 2017.
Social media avails the new world with a range of benefits and opportunities; It helps people to empower themselves in a variety of ways including maintaining social connections and support networks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. It also facilitates the growth of knowledge as it has opened up access to information more than ever before. It is also an excellent tool for entrepreneurs to reach out to their clients.
However, social media has also affected the society in a negative way. One of the challenges active social media users face is security. So many people have lost their lives, properties, etc. due to their activities on social media.
Thus, having access to the enormous benefits social media provides, does come with a price. Loss of privacy, vulnerability to cyber attacks, cyber frauds, the spread of fake news, impersonation, etc. are some of the dangers of social media.
The good news, however, is there are certain key things that can be put in place to minimise, at least, the dangers posed by social media.
To ensure you are safe on social media, this piece shares some tips on what you should consider removing from your social media profiles.
1. Your phone number
No doubt, putting your phone number on social media can make it easy for your friends to reach you, it also comes with security risk, however. Making your phone number public on social media may lead to unwanted calls and contact from complete strangers who can put your security at risk. If it’s vital that you put your phone number, you can customise the setting to control the category of people who can see the number.
2. Your birthday
Many will find this odd. What is wrong with making birthday public? Definitely, making your birthday public on social media has some benefits. It, for example, allows you not to miss annual birthday wishes from friends.
However, keeping your date of birth public may be dangerous as the date actually forms one part of a puzzle alongside your name and address which can allow scammers to access your bank account and other personal details.
3. Credit card details
This is not just unnecessary; it is highly dangerous. However, some put their card details online saying it is the most convenient way for them to save it and easily access it in case of emergency use. Considering the security challenges facing the social media platforms now, you may need to reconsider your decision.
Keep everything connected to your credit card details – the name on the card, the number, the security number, date of expiry or even the associated account number, etc. out of social media.
If it’s very important to put your card details online, then the best advice is to get a dedicated credit card for your online transactions where you only keep a little amount of money for petty purchases.
4. Consider narrowing your friends list
There is nothing to do with a whole lot of people in your connection that you never get to talk to or derive benefits from (e.g. through their updates). So, keep a minimal, quality connection on social media.
5. Your relationship status
Ideally, your relationship status is supposed to be part of your core privacy – the rest of the world does not necessarily have to know about it. Making it public sometimes exposes you and your partner to danger, especially if you or your partner is working with firms that have a direct or indirect relationship with criminal elements, for instance, if you are a policeman.
6. Photographs of young children and family members
While it is not wrong to be proud of one’s children, siblings and family members by sharing their pictures online, it is also important to respect their privacy. Do not put anything that can jeopardise their security or compromise their privacy online. In the digital age, there is very little that can be deleted from the Internet once it is posted. It is not a bad idea to get their permissions before putting their pictures online.
7. Your child’s school details
Giving access to your child’s location or the location of a minor to strangers online is dangerous as you might be providing the information to possible predators.
8. Your boss
You may need to think twice before adding your boss on social media. This has cost many people their jobs. While you might get along well with your boss in the office, allowing him/her to be privy to personal aspects of your life may be risky, especially if you are the type that usually shares status about your workplace. Thus, to be on the safe side, separate your job from your social media life.
9. Location services
Putting your location setting on is dangerous. It exposes you to unnecessary danger.
Location services are available through Android and iPhones and allow the app to track your whereabouts through your mobile phone.
10. Tagging your location
Tagging your location at home, at work or any other locations personal to you means you are disclosing those addresses online. Is this what you want? So, consider your security before ‘checking in’ at the office or the mart.