What Your IT Guy Wishes You Knew About Social Media Privacy

WhatYourITGuy78317263_SoMePrivacyTo many of us, social media is second nature. We wake up and immediately check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter only to check it all again before even thinking about closing our eyes for bed. Social media is an integrated part of our lives, making it easy to overlook the security concerns it can bring, not only to ourselves but also for the organizations we work for. The privacy settings on these social channels are regularly overlooked, opening the door to strangers following our personal status updates, photo shares and work information.

As your trusty IT help desk guy, I want to show you just how easy it is to update social security settings, keeping yourself and your organization safe from cyber intruders.

Facebook gives you options for who can see different aspects of your profile, from future posts to past posts and anything you may be tagged in.

You can also limit who can send you private messages and who can submit friend requests to you.

Also, don’t feel like you need to provide every ounce of information Facebook requests from you as you set up an account, and for the areas where you do provide this information, set privacy setting for each one. Everyone looks to Facebook to be reminded to wish friends “Happy Birthday,” but you can set your birth year privacy to “only me.”


Twitter privacy options may be the most elusive of the bunch. You can actually set your account to be private, meaning you will have to approve any person (or thing) that requests to follow you.

It’s common to hear about Twitter accounts being hacked. So, you also have the option for a verification step each time you log in. Meaning you will receive a mobile text message to confirm that it’s actually you logging into the account.

Once you are logged in, unless you have updated your settings, your tweets will include your location. To prevent this, deselect “Add a location to my tweets” under security and settings.


Instagram is pretty cut and dry. Either a profile is public for anyone to follow or it is a private account where each follower request must be approved. Because Instagram is a mobile application it has not yet opened the advertiser floodgates, so you can worry less — for now — about advertisers getting your information and following you around the Internet. But, keep your guard up against random followers that you are opening your personal world to.


LinkedIn profiles tend to get the most edits, whether it’s a new job position or updates to past experience. But what many don’t know is that you don’t have to publicize every update you make to your profile. We all support our LinkedIn connections on those new skills, but they can really take over a newsfeed. There is a button on the right side of your profile (when you are in edit mode) that allows you to turn off and on your activity broadcasts. So, save the important new job updates for everyone, instead of your past course work.

Privacy settings can also be adjusted for everything — from who can see your status updates to how your profile appears when you look at someone else’s profile.


Although Google+ may be on its way out of the social party, you can still update your privacy settings. Google+ privacy settings are very simple and let you control who receives notifications and who can comment on posts. While it may seem like a great idea to let “anyone” comment on your posts, it’s best to limit this option to your circles or extended circles.


Keep social accounts separate
Overall, avoid linking multiple social media accounts together. This means that once someone has access to one, they essentially have access to each one that it’s connected to, which gives them the ability to post on your behalf. Also, while it might make life easier for you, avoid using the same password across your social accounts.

Related Course
Social Media Boot Camp

In this article

Join the Conversation