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Social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Twitter have made it easy for people to communicate and share information. However, with the ability to post personal information about yourself and others, there are associated privacy concerns that you should be aware of, and act accordingly.

While posting a plethora of information about yourself, your friends and your family on these social networks is both appealing and common-place, with increased exposure also comes the risk of increase threat. These threats, such as identity theft, cyber stalking, cyber-bullying, and other forms of fraud are very real, and trancend the online world into the real world, with instances such as houses being burgled due to social network posts.

Take a few seconds to think about what you are making available online. Are you comfortable having a complete stranger view your complete profile, including access to your birthday, home address, cell phone, and personal pictures?

Secure your online profile(s)

  1. Read and understand the social media site’s privacy policy: while this policy is typically lengthy and filled with legal jargon, perusing it, or looking up up-to-date synopsis compiled to aid fellow users will give you a better understanding of what your stance on this network is, where your data is store, and who owns the picture of your cat you’ve posted.
  2. Review your personal information: make sure the information you’ve posted is that which you are comfortable sharing with everyone. Once it’s posted, it’s up there, and information on the internet never disappears. Furthermore, privacy settings change, and the information you once thought would be private can suddenly become public.
  3. Be careful when posting information about others: not everyone might share your idea of a joke, or be as flattered by the photo of the drunken party. Always ensure that information you’re posting about others is that which everyone involved is okay with being online.
  4. Be cautious about what information you post about your location: it is very easy to make yourself a target for cyber-stalking with location posts. In addition, with your vacation posts of you away on a beach with the entire family, you are alerting everyone that your home is empty. Make sure you restrict these posts to only those you absolutely trust.

Privacy Policies for various social media sites: