Personal Paralegal: The Social Media Dos and Don’ts to Protect Your Privacy
In this day and age, it behooves everyone to use social media to some degree – and it can be a great and fun way to keep track of friends, promote a product, or interact with customers. But with this freedom of idea and information exchange has come a new platform for privacy to be compromised by Internet predators, governments or even potential employers with whom one may be seeking employment.
With these cases of privacy violations on the rise, they have become a key topic of interest to paralegal schools looking to equip their graduates with the correct tools to navigate the murky waters of privacy law. With social media usage sky-rocketing, more accounts of privacy violations will surely arise. In order to protect your privacy, there are certain Dos and Don’ts that need to be kept in mind when using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Foursquare.
1. Follow the sites you are on regularly. If someone posts to your wall or says something unflattering, inappropriate or untrue about you, you want to be able to react within hours, not days or weeks.
2. Know the privacy policies of each site. Reading the fine print can be a drag, but it allows you to understand what information is publicly viewable, what information is shared with other companies and what options you have in protecting yourself.
3. Think before you post. You may write things or provide information that you later regret. If you’re angry or upset, wait a few hours before posting.
4. Make sure that you have the latest security updates installed in your computer. This is just generally good advice. Also, consider downloading Facebook’s security software to further protect yourself.
5. Keep your credit card and bank information to yourself. With the ubiquity of online purchasing, there’s a tendency to get a little too free with one’s financial information. If you’re not on a secure site with the intent to purchase, there’s no reason to provide this information.
1. Don’t accept requests from strangers, particularly if something seems fishy. They may be after your password, or attempting to pass you a virus. Check out who they are before clicking on any links they provide.
2. If you’re an individual, don’t provide your exact address, particularly on Foursquare. People can tell when you’re on vacation – publicly letting them know that you’re out of town, while also showing them a map to your door is a bad idea.
3. Don’t let unflattering photographs be tagged. Facebook will allow you to un-tag any photos taken of you. Make sure you’re in control of your own images.
4. Don’t post without proofreading. Spelling errors, clumsy grammar and typos all serve to make you look bad – and it gives view to a private thought process that you may want to keep to yourself. In other words, no reason to show others your first drafts. An extra minute and you can look much better.
5. Don’t keep an account if you’re not going to use it. Especially if you’re running a business, having a Twitter account (or other account) that is only used once every five months is worse than having no account at all. Plus, because it appears that you’re inattentive, it’s ripe for poachers, who may start using your account to spam others connected to you.