4 Common Ways We Give Away Our Own Privacy

key   4 Common Ways We Give Away Our Own PrivacyPrivacy is one of the most valuable things that people have, and with every new wave of social media, we give another little bit of it away. I’m definitely not one to talk, though. I use Facebook and Twitter just like the lot of you, so don’t think I don’t fall victim to the online social world as well.

Below, I’ve revealed four very common ways that people give away their own privacy. More often than not, they do so without even realizing it. Granted, with as much information that is shared online anyway, I doubt most people would even care. Even still, I think it might be a good idea to keep these privacy concerns in mind whenever logging on to your favorite social media websites.

Leaving Google Search History On

google   4 Common Ways We Give Away Our Own Privacy

I’m not one to judge, but occasionally, when browsing the Internet we search for things that we just don’t want people to know about. For instance, some of you out there may have a llamas-in-sneakers obsession and spend your many free hours searching away for images of the footwear-loving Peruvian mammals. In most parts of society, that would be considered relatively unusual. However, say that you let your nine-year-old nephew, Tucker, use your computer and you just happen to leave Gmail logged in.

Tucker, being the curious lad he is, may decide to look at your account information (because he’s nosey like that). Unfortunately, this could very well be the day that everyone finds out about your llama fetish. To make matters worse, Tucker may very well be llama-phobic and could go into cardiac arrest. How would you feel knowing that your careless search history deletion habits are the reason that poor Tucker suffered such a traumatic event?

Not Clearing Facebook Search History

fb 590x103   4 Common Ways We Give Away Our Own Privacy

Many of you Facebook stalkers out there may not be aware of a relatively new function that exists on the social networking site. If you decide to view your Activity Log, you’ll see a drop down menu in the top right hand corner of the screen. When you select “Search” from this menu, you will find that Facebook keeps a record of every single one of your searches on site. This begs the question, why would Facebook want to keep track of your search history? In this writer’s opinion, it really doesn’t make that much sense.

As in the case of young Tucker, it would be a real shame if somebody saw just how many times you visited your ex-boyfriend’s profile in the past 24 hours. If you would like to purge theses records, there is a nice “Clear History” button at the top of your Activity Log. However, there is currently no default option to prevent Facebook from recording this history, and honestly, that is a little strange. In the meantime, just keep hitting that button while stuffing yourself with Chunky Monkey ice cream and listening to “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers.

Leaving Social Media Accounts Logged In

twitter   4 Common Ways We Give Away Our Own Privacy

We have all fallen victim to it. In fact, I’d say it’s the modern day equivalent to demon possession. It’s always frustrating when someone gets a hold of your social media account and starts posting colorful bits of false information. In this society that is apparently “so worried” about privacy, it is a little shocking that we’d do something so careless and so often. But alas, we do it over and over again whenever we use a public computer or even a friend’s laptop.

The issue with this is not the sudden gender identification changes or even the questionable status updates. It’s the fact that we’ve used “private” messaging on social media accounts as a means to share authentic private, detailed information, and when we leave them logged in publicly, we’ve basically invited people into our lives to take whatever they want and use it however they wish.

Using Someone’s Phone

phone1   4 Common Ways We Give Away Our Own Privacy

In a similar fashion to leaving social media accounts logged in, using someone’s phone is a voluntary, yet typically unknown, invitation into one’s private life. Simply using someone’s phone and logging into your personal social media account is the first step into a potential identity disaster. Perhaps your friend actually has malicious feelings towards you and merely wants to ruin your life. Alternatively, and more realistically, there is always a possibility of the phone being stolen, and as always, this could have negative effects.

On the other hand, there is the issue of loaning your phone out to people. Sure, in most cases one would typically loan their phone to someone they already know. However, loaning your phone out to a stranger, even for a phone call, can open this person up to your private life. In the past, offering a phone to help someone make a call was common and highly accepted, but nowadays, with the advent of smartphones, this can be very risky if the phone gets stolen. As a word of warning, simply be careful with whoever you loan your phone out to.


Naturally, every single thing I’ve written here is common sense. However, we sometimes let things slip through the cracks unintentionally. If any of you have ever fallen victim to any of these situations, don’t feel bad. Hopefully, it was only a friend that got a hold of your private accounts.

What privacy concerns and tips do you have for protecting your social media accounts? Has anyone ever accessed or “hacked” your private accounts?

Image Credit: mconnors, typexnick

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.


Richard Borkovec

Didn’t that about the Facebook searches. Thanks!

Adam Campbell


Prasanth Mathialagan

Facebook search history information is cool!! I dont think many people know that

vineed gangadharan

Thats how google knows what ads to put for you (-_-)

Joshua Lockhart

Yep. But do you use those ads?

vineed gangadharan

no none of them!

Mac Witty

I think one of the first tings to do is to ask oneself – What can I share with everybody and what do I not want to share? We are different and have different “comfort zones”.

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Thankfully none of my accounts have ever been compromised. I’m careful not to let my laptop and PC record my passwords, always make sure I’ve logged out before leaving the machine, etc, etc. I’ve also disable history in my browsers. A bit paranoid, yet I keep the accounts logged in from my phone and only log out every few days. A fatal flaw indeed.


Facebook track the search history because it’s the best way to track which results turned out to be relevant. They then use this information in the future to try and help the next set of results be more relevant. I’m not saying people should or shouldn’t clear the history, but there is a valid reason for Facebook to want it.


Caught my 13 year old Grandkid leaving his facebook open when he used my computer. I doubt he will make that mistake again.

Nikhil Chandak

very useful tips
thanks for the article !


Thanks, did not about FB search… :)


This site requires your email to read their ebooks. What do they use that for?

Joshua Lockhart

Good question. You should contact one of the editors.

Edward Bellair

Learned a new one and see I am not alone. Facebook you sneaky little program.

G. PooBah

Here’s the thing . . . you guys don’t *really* thinking “turning search off”, “clearing histories” and “logging out” works, do you?! In an age when nefarious entities can *remotely* hijack your camera & mic, watch your every keystroke via keyloggers, and peruse every email & IM you’ve ever sent (or not, in the case of ID theft) — all w\o your knowledge, let alone consent — you REALLY think you can protect your privacy?

OK. I’ve got some beach front property in AZ for sale. I’ll post pics on FB!

Joshua Lockhart

I think it’s more the practical ways of giving up your privacy. People with better know-how can dig into your information, of course. But this is just too easy…

Efi Dreyshner

Using Someone’s Phone is one of the huge problem about privacy…
You just forget about security


Joshua Lockhart

Thanks for sharing.

Bernardo Delapasion

thanks great article …..there are companies out there hunting for our preference .. so lets all be careful with our searches

Gary Mundy

Facebook search. Who da thunk.

Lisa Davis

I never even thought about FB searches. And I wasn’t even aware that you could view your activity log on FB. Wow, am I behind the times.

Alex Perkins


Gary Rosende

Gary Rosende

Another factor of losing privacy is when you place you picture on social media, if the picture is clear enough the entities to be are gathering these pictures in a DB for facial reconnection. So now you have lost your visual privacy. Example my friend has an iphone, he gets a call and the named tied to the phone # access a DB in order to give him a picture of the person. Now he has that from that point on. Some states are using driver’s licenses renewal to place your picture in a DB.

Joshua Lockhart

That’s true. It’s very easy for me to run a reverse image search.

George Zipp

An emerging Police State?

Joshua Lockhart

Considering this isn’t run by the government, I wouldn’t think so.

George Tirebiter

Only really sto0pid people use their real name and/or photos on social media…or anywhere on the interwebs.
Yep, that’s damned near all of you.