Such a habit has been proved over and over again to be bad for our productivity and mental health but this is not the only reason why it can be so detrimental.
The truth is that using social media so frequently and without a second thought has caused a number of other issues that are rarely talked about.
We are so used to posting photos and tagging locations in real time, clicking on different links our friends send us as well as connecting with people we don’t even know that we completely forgot about all privacy risks of social media that should always be our number one priority.
The truth is that we are all guilty of sharing too much information about our daily lives on social media.
We want to show what we are up to, which new places we visited and who our friends are. And since we are all so accustomed to using social media on a daily basis, we often completely forget that our actions on social media may lead to negative or even serious consequences.
In order to prevent this from happening, everyone should know what are the most common privacy risks on social media. Only in this way will all of us be able to use social media in a safe and appropriate way.
#1 Sharing too much information in real time
Picture this – you are out with your friends having dinner at a new fancy restaurant you haven’t visited before. You are all dressed up, having a great time so you snap a photo. You post it all over your social media accounts and obviously tagging the exact location of that restaurant. Does this scenario seem familiar to you?
One of the biggest privacy risks of social media is sharing too much information in real time.
By doing so you have absolutely no control who sees your posts or what they intend on doing with the information you provided them with (especially if you have a huge following or if your account isn’t set on private). This is how you may end up being followed, stalked or even harassed. And let’s not forget that social media advertisers are lurking as well waiting to deliver you endless advertisements on your feed.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to avoid posting in real time or to leave out some crucial information like your location. You will definitely be much safer while still sharing with your friends how you spend your free time.
#2 Sharing too much personal information
Another privacy risk of social media is not carefully assessing what you will share on your profile publicly. Many major social media platforms allow you to fill out your profile by inserting your home address, phone number or your relationship status. If you don’t pay attention to whether these details are publicly available, your private and personal information may end up in the wrong hands.
Even if you’ve been using social media platforms for years, make sure to go through your personal details on your profile that are public.
If possible, remove all personal information such as email address or phone number and make your account private. Only in this way will you be able to prevent any possible data theft or misuse of your personal information.
#3 Filling out fake forms
One of the most common fraudulent practices is phishing. It is a cybercrime when someone is posing as a legitimate organization or institution with the intent to steal sensitive data which will later on allow them to access your important accounts.
Phishing can even lead to serious crimes such as identity theft or financial loss.
What makes phishing so successful is that people don’t pay attention to what they click on, especially if the sender of a message is someone they know or think they know. They click on the link provided in the message, fill out some forms and unknowingly give hackers access to their sensitive information. This happens most commonly when people think that a certain social media platform is sending them a message to protect their account or something similar.
In order to prevent this from happening, always make sure to double check the sender of such messages that ask for your personal identification number or banking information. You may think that social media platforms are contacting you directly but they would never send a message asking for your bank account number.
So if you have any doubts, contact the organization sending you email by calling them or visiting them.
#4 Clicking on suspicious links
How many times have you clicked on a link that your friend has sent you without even checking it first?
Hackers nowadays are much more clever and resourceful than they were before. Even if just one of your friends or connections on social networks has their account compromised, by clicking on a link they sent you without looking at it, you can lose access to your account as well. And not only that, but your entire computer can be compromised by installing malware that can steal your sensitive data or by playing annoying ads over and over again.
Because people are less likely to check links that are sent to them by their friends, social media platforms are ideal places for hackers to distribute malware. So no matter if a friend, a family member or an acquaintance has sent you a link, inspect it before clicking on it.
#5 Allowing the apps to access certain information
Are you aware of how vulnerable your social media accounts are?
When you download any social media app for your phone, in order to install it you have to allow access to certain information. Sometimes these apps would not work properly if you don’t allow any access at all, but it often happens that they ask for much more than they need.
If you want to keep track of how much social media platforms know about you or what they are able to access on your phone, go to your settings page and inspect closely every possible access you’ve allowed. You will be surprised how many times you’ve clicked on the Allow button.
This little exercise will also teach you how to pay attention in the future whenever you install a new app, which is important as well.
Can we avoid privacy risks of social media entirely?
Yes, but only if we are extremely careful and cautious, because even the smallest mistake on major social media platforms can be rather costly. However, that doesn’t have to be the case with every social media platform. You don’t always have to be super careful about what you post and who has access to it.
Not every social media platform is there to take advantage of you. There are good ones left, those that will not steal and sell your data, those that value your privacy more than anything else. Fourview is one of them.
Dedicated to bringing back the power in users’ hands, allowing them to feel safe and secure while sharing important moments with their connections, Fourview has launched a Kickstarter campaign. And this is why we need your help.
Help us bring back the old social media days where no one harassed you with ads, where your private data wasn’t sold, where you could be yourself.
We are counting on you to support us.