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There Is No Such Thing As Social Media Privacy

Okay smarty pants I bet you are thinking that because you have your privacy settings set up to “Only Friends” on Facebook, or because you “protect” your Tweets, or because you have appropriately placed everyone into “circles” you think that your information is secure, right? Wrong.

Let me be clear when I say, “there is no such thing as social media privacy,” I mean that irrespective of the network you use, your information is up for grabs. Here’s why:

  • Just because you only sent that post or photo out to 5 friends, doesn’t mean that their privacy settings are set up the same way. All it takes is one person to have their privacy settings not as secure as yours and wham-o – your info is out and about floating in the internet-sphere.
  • 3rd party apps access your info, even if you don’t use them. Yes, that’s right, you may not use a 3rd party app but if your friends do and you didn’t secure that information, guess what? Yep, your info is out there for the taking.
  • You protect your tweets – big deal. All tweets are in the Library of Congress so they are public knowledge anyway and yesterday I talked about brand monitoring tools and how people can monitor conversations whether they are friends or following you or not. Still feel like your tweets are “protected”?
  • Lastly, consider hackers, they hack your information because they’re bored and it’s the thrill of exposing a new network’s vulnerability – but with social networks having their API’s open, all hackers need to do is create an attractive “app” for anyone in your network to download and it’s a free for all.
When you think about it, we’re not paying anyone to protect our information, not yet anyway. So my advice, think twice before you post something. A good rule of thumb is to only post stuff you would feel good about sending out over a loudspeaker to the entire world. Or if you don’t share anything, then your privacy can’t be violated.
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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.