April 22, 2021

4 Ways You’re Giving Away Too Much Information on Social Media

Posted by Rhiannon

Everyone who uses social media knows that it isn’t the place to go if you value your privacy. The basic purpose of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more is to share details about your life with the people you’re connected with. However, many users have started pulling back on what they share, especially knowing how much data is collected by the platforms and even by other users, including hackers and cybercriminals. Here are some ways you may be giving away too much information on social media, without even knowing it:

  • You post a lot of photos
  • Status games are your jam
  • You “like” a lot of content
  • Your IP address isn’t hidden

You Post a Lot of Photos

Photos are one of the most popular types of content to share on social media. Some platforms, like Instagram, are built specifically for photo sharing (and don’t allow anything else). Unfortunately, to modify the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand pieces of data. In the first place, photos of your face can be used by facial recognition software to recognize you online. Of course, most people aren’t shocked by this information. 

However, photos often reveal more than just your face. Many images come with metadata – hidden pieces of information about the photos you share. This information can include things like the type of camera you used, the time you took the photo, and even the location where you took it.

In addition, the actual images in your photos may reveal your data without you knowing it. For example, if you’re planning a trip somewhere and show off your plane ticket, the information on it (such as if it has a QR code) can be used against you, including to steal the ticket itself.

Before posting your images, think critically about what you’re sharing and if it’s worth the risk of putting too much information on social media.

Status Games Are Your Jam

Lots of social media users play games directly in their statuses. You know the type. One of your friends shares a list of fun facts about their life – their favourite colour, food, song, the first car they had, the name of their first pet. Then they tag you to compete as well and so on. While these games may seem like a fun way of passing the time, they reveal so much information on social media about you that most people don’t even realize is dangerous. For example, almost all of the questions we just posed can be security questions used as an extra layer of protection on your other accounts. One savvy hacker can steal your responses and potentially break into your other accounts with them.

By not playing these games, you don’t run the risk of having your answers used against you.

You “Like” a Lot of Content

The things you “like,” “heart,” or “favourite,” online reveal a lot more about your interests than you may think. Rather than just announcing that you enjoy the Godzilla movies, for example, the things you like on social media can help those platforms extrapolate details about your personality. These details may include things like your political leanings, religious ideas, sexual orientation, and even more.

Rather than “liking” lots of content online, become a more passive observer, if possible.

Your IP Address Isn’t Hidden

Your IP address functions much like your home address, but in the virtual world instead of the physical one. It tells websites where to send the results of your searches, link clicks, and more. Unfortunately, it also tells them, and anyone else who knows how to find it, a lot more. IPs can give away our search history, usernames, real names, and even our locations in the real world. 

The best way to hide your IP address is with a VPN.

Social media is more important now than ever, allowing us to remain connected online when we can’t in person. But, don’t let increased reliance on social media result in an increased risk to your privacy. Check out our blog for more weekly tips about staying safe online.

Posted by Rhiannon

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