Privacy 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
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
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
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
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?
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