Safe Social Media Practices for 2013

Safe Social Media Practices for 2013

If you’ve set some digital resolutions for yourself in 2013, perhaps one of them should be to take a fresh look at your social networking digital practices. Many users of networks like Facebook and Twitter will carry on for years without taking a glimpse at their privacy settings or terms of service, leaving them vulnerable. Here are four ways to follow best practice online in 2013:



Don’t Get "Killed"

There’s a nasty Facebook prank going around where accounts can be "killed" or converted into what’s called "memorialized accounts" simply by posing as a family member and informing Facebook that the victim of the prank has passed away. The social networking loophole, first exposed by social trend website Buzzfeed, can be accomplished by as little as an online obituary of someone who simply shares the same name. Getting your account back to normalcy isn’t impossible but it’s a process. You’ll have to file a form with Facebook and wait about 5-6 days for action to be taken.

Until Facebook officially refines this process there’s not much you can do but monitor your account closely. Identity theft protection services like Lifelock on Facebook will often give some pretty handy tips on how to keep you profile secure. Until then, just make sure that you have trustworthy friends who don’t like pranks.

Read the Terms of Service

Or at least understand what the fine print is telling you. Photo-sharing service Instagram found itself in hot water after making controversial changes to its terms of service, allowing the company to sell its users pictures to third parties without permission. The change was met with enough outrage that Instagram eventually recanted on that portion of the change, but the trust in the service was damaged enough that its daily user numbers have been in decline, according to app statistics website AppData.

Terms of Service; Didn’t Read is a fantastic new site that takes the terms of service from popular sites and breaks it down for you in plain English, so the fine print doesn’t sneak past you. The site even gives the terms a total grade of A through E so you can see how reliable they really are.

Refine & Review Privacy Settings

"Digital holidays" is becoming a fad for maintaining your computer’s health and managing online life. February 1, for example, is National Change Your Password Day. March 31 is National Backup Your Computer Day. The beginning of 2013 is a great time to scour through all your social networks to assure that all your privacy settings are exactly how you want them.

A simple Google search like, "How to make [social network] private" should get you along with navigating through these settings, as these types of searches are very popular.

Nothing is Truly Private

Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, made headlines in December after a photo she posted to Facebook was tweeted out for thousands to see. The picture in question is harmless, just the Zuckerberg family talking in the kitchen over the holidays, but Randi thought that the photo was private only to a select group of friends and family. Her response to the social media universe didn’t help the matter very much, but it was certainly a lesson that not even the CEO’s sister can get a grip on Facebook’s complicated privacy settings.

Always use the golden rule, would you want to see this on the cover of The New York Times, before posting something online. Even after going through all your social networks’ privacy settings, it’s always possible for data to fall into the wrong hands.


This Article has been brought to you by The Computer Fixer with special thanks to DigitalPros!

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