For all the benefits social networks bring to our lives, there are as many risks of using these platforms. This isn’t to suggest you should discontinue your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, but you should be cautious about what information you make public. Most people neglect to use many of the key privacy settings on these sites that can go a long way in protecting you.One of the biggest mistakes made by social networks is not knowing or controlling who is accessing your information. Unless you designate otherwise, most social networks make your profile accessible to anyone on the web. This is easily changed, but it’s not done automatically. On Facebook, you can change your privacy settings so that only your “friends” can view you profile. You can narrow this down even further by restricting what aspects of your profile particular people are allowed to see. On Twitter, anyone can follow you without your approval unless you change your settings so that a person must request to follow you and can only do so with your approval.Another mistake many people make when using online profiles, is including too much information. You should never include your full birth date. The day and month are usually ok, but don’t include the year. Not only has this become a method for online predators to target children and teens, but this information can also be used to hack into other security information such as your social security number. And though it should go without saying, never include your address or telephone number.Always be cautious of what you post on any of these sites. What may seem amusing at the time, can come back to haunt you. One of the biggest problems with online profiles and social networks is that you can never really delete anything. Unlike shredding a document or embarrassing picture, what goes on the internet is forever stored in some database or hard drive. So always think twice about how a picture, video or comment could cause you security, legal, or personal trouble down the road.
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