To go along with our Hiding Internet Activity information page (which can be found here), this post has to do with specific measurements to take on the most popular social media networks in order to ensure your safety. Whether or not you are in an abusive relationship, this information is important to know – the internet can be a dangerous place if certain precautions are not taken.
The following information, sourced from the IBOAI website, outlines some useful tips on securing your online profiles on Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Twitter, and YouTube.
Web logs (blogs for short) are a little different in that they don’t have quite the same security and privacy settings as social networking sites have. However, they do have Settings areas that allow you to control information on your site. Naturally, you have the option to be totally transparent by using your real name, or you can be more secretive by using a handle (made-up name). Otherwise, here are ways of controlling information on your site:
Most allow you to select:
- whether to allow comments, some even to decide how they display
- to moderate comments and whether to require verification or authentication
- whether to block comments by spammers or troublemakers
- whether to show trackbacks or backlistingwhether to show commenter avatars or profile pictures
Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress are similar, but each is a little different in many ways. Be sure to explore all the ways the blogging program you choose helps you maintain privacy and security for your business and your readers.
The default setting for a Facebook profile requires you to approve anyone who wants to be your friend. Until you approve them, they can only see your name, your profile picture, your list of friends and the content on your wall. (Unless you have friends in common, in which case, they will be able to see all of your photos, birthday, and religious and political views.) Once you approve them, Facebook allows you to see their entire profile page, and the same “Friends of Friends” details for their network.
You can change the default privacy settings at any time by going to “Customize settings” under “Privacy Settings” on the Account page.For instance, Facebook allows you to limit who sees the information that you display about yourself by checking from a dropdown list that includes: Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends Only, or Customize.
The information for which you can limit access to is:
- Things I Share: Posts by me, Family, Relationships, Interested in and looking for, Bio and favorite quotations, Website, Religious and political views, Birthday
- Things others share: Photos and videos I’m tagged in, Can comment on posts, Friends can post on my Wall (check to enable), Can see Wall posts by friends
- Contact information: Mobile phone, Other phone, Address, IM screen name, e-mail address
Ads display on Facebook pages and some can be tailored. For instance, if you’ve “liked” a page or event (called a “social action”) and an ad for that business or event appears on a friend’s Facebook page, that friend may see your name in the ad. To adjust whether your friends can see ads tailored to your social actions, go to “Account Settings” under Account and click the “Facebook Ads” tab at the top.
If you have enabled any applications like birthdays, notes, or photos, you can adjust their settings by going to “Application Settings” under Account.You can also limit who can search for you on Facebook for your Profile Picture, your Friend list, a link to add you as a Friend, a link to send you a message, and a list of the pages of which you are a Fan.
You may also block undesirables so they can’t find you in a search, see your profile, or interact with you through Facebook channels. Furthermore, you can block any persons associated with a particular e-mail address.
You may find that games and other applications will become distractions. If your friends post updates about them, you can hide the postings (look for “Hide” in the upper right corner of each posting). The best advice is to not accept the invitations, which you will inevitably receive, to join or try a long list of fun sounding time-wasters.
The default for LinkedIn requires that you accept requests to connect with you and verify that you know the other person. Often LinkedIn will ask for the other person’s e-mail address as a method of verification. You can see limited amounts of information about someone depending on whether they are in your line of connection, but if you aren’t connected with them at all, you will be able to see very little about them and the same for them about you. Your connectedness also affects your ability to communicate with others. Although LinkedIn highly recommends not connecting with someone you don’t know, it is possible to connect as a friend or acquaintance.
To change your default settings, go to Account & Settings at the top of the page. There you can adjust your:
Profile Settings to make parts of your Public Profile visible to others: Photo, Full View (recommended by LinkedIn) that’s customizable for Basics, Picture, Headline, Summary, Specialties; employment Positions, Education, Honors/Awards; Status; and Member Feed.
You can also select the kinds of contacts you will accept from others, what kinds of introductions, as well as what kinds of opportunities.
Privacy Settings to control how LinkedIn displays: Connections Browse to restrict your connections list, Profile Views to hide name and characteristics like industry and title, Profile and Status Updates to show status updates and recommendations, Service Provider Directory to be shown in a service provider listing, and Partner Advertising to receive advertising on your pages.
The default setting for MySpace opens your profile to public view and comment without approval. The more cautious can change those settings through Account Settings and then Settings.
Every profile can be made private in the Privacy section.
You can require approval before posting comments in the Spam section.
In addition, you may block other users through “Block User” under their profile picture on their page.
Finally, the default setting lets others know when you’re online, but you can change that under the Privacy settings.
The default setting for Twitter is to allow anyone to follow you and you to be able to follow anyone whose account isn’t protected. They can read your tweets plus any tweet with your name in it, you can read theirs plus any tweet with their name in it. Your profile is open to public view, along with your list of followers and those you follow.
To let only people you approve follow your tweets, “Protect” your tweets through Settings and then the Account tab. Check “Protect my tweets” and click the “Save” button. You will then receive e-mails letting you know that someone wants to follow you, and you can okay them after looking at their profiles.
If you protect your account later, it won’t protect you from people who followed you before you protected it. So, go back through your followers and weed out unsavory characters you now don’t want to follow or who have followed you.
If you don’t automatically protect your tweets, consider periodically gleaning your followers and those you follow to clean out spammers and other unsavory accounts.
If someone unsavory follows you or interacts with you unfavorably, you can block them. Click on their name (that will take you to their profile page) and look for the “block” link on their page.
The default setting for YouTube is that the videos that you post are viewable for the public, anyone can post a comment about your videos, anyone can see your profile, and anyone can message you. You can change those settings if you choose, and you can block users.
To make changes to the default settings, sign in to your YouTube account and under your name at the top of the page, select “Account”. That will take you to the “Overview” page.
Under Profile, you can decide how much personal information to divulge.
Under Privacy, you can change search and contact restrictions and make advertising settings.
Under Sharing, you can change activity feeds and autoshare options.
Under Customize Homepage, you can change what modules you want to see on your YouTube page.
While in Overview, under More > Edit Channel you can decide whether to allow others to find your channel (your account) if they have your e-mail address.
If someone is making comments about your videos that you find distasteful, block their comments by clicking the “Block User” button in the “Connect with” box in their profile. You can block everyone from commenting, too.
To make a video that you’ve uploaded private, go to Account > Uploaded Videos and choose the video(s) you want to make private. Under the “Broadcasting and Sharing Options” section, find the “Privacy” options and click the little black arrow to see the option to make the video public or private.
To make a Playlist private, go to Account > Playlists under “My Videos.” Select the Playlist you want to make private.
You can create a Group to focus your YouTube communications on your organization go to Account > Groups, then click “Create a Group”. After you’ve filled in all the information, click the “Create a Group” button. You’ll then be directed to a blank Group homepage where you’ll invite Group members, post videos for the Group, and so on.