|When I was a teenager, I loved social media. Armed with a Myspace page, a Friendster account, and an AIM friends list a mile long, I posted vague, navel-gazing song lyrics from the likes of Modest Mouse and Interpol at all hours of the day and night. Did I overshare? Absolutely. In those heady days of assumed internet anonymity, I never considered who read my (very dull) suburban teenage thoughts until a teacher referenced one of my posts during class.
I was mortified. Aside from being concerned as to why my teacher looked up his students on Myspace in his spare time, I saw this event as a privacy invasion. It was a weird feeling to realize that people I didn’t know or trust presumed to know me from reading my silly posts of sad song lyrics. As a result, I locked down or deleted all of my accounts and ultimately stopped posting.
In the current social media landscape, it’s even easier to overshare. More people than ever can find out intimate details about your life by analyzing the information you choose to share online. Unfortunately, choosing to communicate often and publicly has security implications for you and your family. Your public posts are easy targets for advertisers, spammers, cyber-stalkers, and every other undesirable person online.
As PCMag Lead Security Analyst Neil J. Rubenking writes, it’s essential to remain vigilant regarding your privacy on social networks. Start by enabling privacy settings that limit your exposure. Facebook, for example, has the Privacy Checkup and Off-Facebook Activity tools that can help you manage who can see and interact with your posts. You can also prevent Facebook’s apps and games from sharing your data. Twitter offers similar privacy tools and lets you enable multifactor authentication for your account.
One way to remove social media from your life is to simply delete your accounts. That way, you can prevent oversharing, as well as a worse fate: an account takeover by a hacker. If you use the same password across multiple social sites, the damage could be severe. If you choose to keep your social media accounts active, use a unique, hard-to-guess password for each one and keep track of your credentials with a password manager.
PCMag Security Analyst