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Be careful what you share on social media Online Privacy: Do You Share Too Much Information? Online Privacy: Do You Share Too Much Information? Sharing has always been a prominent part of what the Internet is and how it functions. And with social networks exploding in popularity in the past several years, sharing is probably the one aspect we... Read More because you never know when something could come back and ruin your life. Even the most innocent and well-intentioned posts could be used against you in ways you’ve never thought possible 5 Life-Ruining Ways You Can Be Victimized Online 5 Life-Ruining Ways You Can Be Victimized Online The Internet is not as anonymous as you might think it is. If somebody wants to find out who you are and where you live, the tiniest bit of information can lead back to you... Read More .

And we’re not just talking about websites that track you with social ads How Exactly Websites Track and Stalk You With Their Ads How Exactly Websites Track and Stalk You With Their Ads Privacy, privacy, privacy. The Internet is known for its anonymity. Without personal privacy, it would be a very dangerous place. But are these companies infringing on privacy rights? How exactly does a website track its... Read More and use that information to build behavioral profiles on you 4 Seemingly Innocent Online Activities That Track Your Behavior 4 Seemingly Innocent Online Activities That Track Your Behavior Read More . A lot of people worry about how evil corporations are “stealing” our data, but the sad truth is that you and I freely give away more than we think do.

You’d be shocked if you knew what Facebook knows about you Facebook Privacy: 25 Things The Social Network Knows About You Facebook Privacy: 25 Things The Social Network Knows About You Facebook knows a surprising amount about us – information we willingly volunteer. From that information you can be slotted into a demographic, your "likes" recorded and relationships monitored. Here are 25 things Facebook knows about... Read More just from your posts and comments. So before you share anything else on social media, here’s what you should never share if you value your privacy and safety.

1. When You’re on Vacation

After you’ve managed to save money on a vacation package How to Save Money on Your Next Vacation Package How to Save Money on Your Next Vacation Package We all need a proper vacation now and then. If a holiday is on your horizon, you consider booking a vacation package. Here are some options. Read More and have started planning your next big adventure in life How to Turn Your Next Vacation into an Adventure How to Turn Your Next Vacation into an Adventure Adventure is a state of mind. Take a few ideas from here when you want your vacation to be a compromise between new excitements and familiar relaxation. Read More , you may feel tempted to express your excitement through social media. Other people brag about their vacations all the time, so you can too, right?

Well, you may want to reconsider as it may not be the smartest thing to tell the world when you’re going on vacation and when you’re coming back. You never know who might see your posts and use that information to plan a break-in and steal everything you own.

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If you really want to share your trip, save it for when you get back. Rather than uploading your photos in real-time, wait until you’re safe at home and upload everything at once. It’s less exciting, I know, but it’s also safer.

And this advice doesn’t just hold for vacations. Think twice before you announce that you’re going out to dinner or staying over at a friends. Paranoid? Maybe, but you never know.

2. Geolocation and Check-Ins

We all know that smartphones can track our GPS coordinates, but did you know that your browser can also track where you are? That’s how social networks like Twitter and Facebook are able to know where you are when you post new tweets or status updates. This is called geolocation.

The thing is, malicious individuals can use your geolocation information to track you down and stalk you. Or they can use it to collect even more personal data and release it publicly What Is Doxing & How Does It Affect Your Privacy? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Doxing & How Does It Affect Your Privacy? [MakeUseOf Explains] Internet privacy is a huge deal. One of the stated perks of the Internet is that you can remain anonymous behind your monitor as you browse, chat, and do whatever it is that you do.... Read More . Do you really want your home location on the Internet where everyone can see?

By extension, you should never give out your physical address or phone numbers through social media — even if you think the communication method is private. Data breaches and account hackers are all too common these days.

And lastly, avoid using the check-in feature that some social apps provide. It might seem cool to let your friends and family know where you are at any given time, but I’m not convinced that the risks are worth it.

3. Privileged Inside Information

It’s not uncommon for people on social media to accidentally post private information through public channels, and most of the time the repercussions are minor — but you have to be particularly careful when that information is business related.

For example, if you signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (also known as a Confidentiality Agreement), it doesn’t only apply to formal modes of communication. Spilling confidential details on social media — even accidentally — is not something you want to be caught doing.

The same holds true if you’re privy to inside information at work: who’s going to be laid off next week, what kind of strategy your company will have for the new year, etc. If you aren’t authorized to share it, you really can’t share it. Otherwise you may find yourself in legal trouble.

4. Complaints and Rants

Speaking of the workplace, it’s important that you don’t air your grievances on social media either. If you want to complain about your boss or coworkers, social media is not where you want to do it. It’s just too likely that someone will see it.

For some reason, people have a lot of trouble with this one. It might be because we live in a culture that thrives on venting and complaining about everything Outrage Porn Is Making You Angry And Dumb, Stop Looking At It Outrage Porn Is Making You Angry And Dumb, Stop Looking At It Revenge porn is articles, pictures, cartoons or other media that are carefully crafted (either intentionally or not) to make people like you very offended, and very angry. Read More . But regardless of the reasons why, no one can deny that social media is a huge outlet of frustration for many.

Just remember that if you aren’t careful, your complaints could get you fired What Behavior Will Get You Into Trouble On Twitter What Behavior Will Get You Into Trouble On Twitter There used to be a time when an employer would laugh at you if you were an avid social media user. Nowadays, employers will think you’re a weirdo if you don’t use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,... Read More .

Similarly, you should never post anything negative about the company itself. Again, it’s just too likely that someone will see it and report you, and you could be on the hook for defamation. If you really want to complain, try using one of these specialized sites How To Safely Complain About Your Boss or Job Online How To Safely Complain About Your Boss or Job Online Read More .

5. Self-Incriminating Evidence

Not everything you see on social media is legal. And while it’s one thing to get fined or fired over a joke or incendiary comment, it’s something else entirely to break the law and leave the evidence on your account for all to see.

You probably won’t see any truly heinous crimes on Facebook or Twitter, but it’s not hard to find incidents where people laugh about driving drunk or taking selfies while on the highway. And there are also people who take photos of their marijuana stashes, their illegal firearms, and even cash that they’ve stolen.

Do everyone, including yourself, a favor by never posting anything like that on social media Some Things Should Remain Private: What Not To Share On Facebook Some Things Should Remain Private: What Not To Share On Facebook Ah, Facebook. The grandfather of all social networks, where we all share all sorts of weird things without a second thought. Despite its horrible reputation when it comes to privacy, Facebook still manages to lull... Read More . At best, you’ll get a few Likes and maybe some credibility among your friends, but at worst, you could find yourself in jail or prison.

6. Expensive New Purchases

Here’s another thing that people love to brag about on social media: shiny new toys! Whether you just got a new phone, tablet, laptop, Amazon Echo, car, house, or whatever else — maybe you’re so excited that you can’t help but post it online. But there are two reasons why you shouldn’t do that.

The first reason is that these kinds of posts contribute to a massive problem that affects most social networks, which is the fact that social media amplifies our insecurities and feelings of failure Facebook Makes You Sad, and "It Won't Happen to Me" is a Lie Facebook Makes You Sad, and "It Won't Happen to Me" is a Lie Facebook's potential as a trigger for depressive symptoms has been talked about in the past too, but this year has seen more of such studies than before. Here's what they say. Read More . When you post highlights from your life, it inadvertently causes some to fill with envy and possibly even resentment.

The second reason is more practical: when you tell the world that you have a shiny new toy, some people may want to steal it from you or take advantage of you in some way. An extreme case would be announcing that you won the lottery — and you know how that would go, don’t you?

As a general rule of thumb, don’t showcase things like jewelry and electronics on social media 5 Things You Need to Stop Posting on Facebook 5 Things You Need to Stop Posting on Facebook We've discussed things that annoy Dave on Twitter, and we've even talked about how you may have compromised your security on the Internet. However, it seems as if Facebook brings both of those topics together.... Read More , especially if your friends are the kind that you don’t trust 100%.

7. Giving Personal Advice

We’ve all seen it before: people who are sick and ask for home remedy tips on Facebook, or people who have gotten themselves into a bind and tweet for possible legal advice. Both are extremely common on sites like Reddit as well.

But no matter how tempted you might be, and no matter how sure of yourself you might be, it’s in everyone’s best interest — including your own — that you don’t give medical or legal advice to people over social media. This is true even if you’re a doctor or lawyer.

The key point is that you simply don’t know all of the facts. If someone is sick or in trouble, they should get professional help. This also applies to advice on exercise, weight loss, diet, finance, relationships, etc. Best to stay quiet on all of that.

8. Scams, Invites, and Giveaways

Social networks are prime targets for things like giveaways and contests, mainly because it’s so darn easy to click “Share” and not think twice about it. However, if that describes you, then you may want to pump your brakes and reconsider.

First of all, if you’re constantly sharing giveaways, contests, and invites to Facebook games, there’s a good chance that you’re annoying every one of your friends (at least the ones who haven’t yet blocked you). It’s spammy at best, shady at worst.

But moreso than that, some these so-called giveaways and contests are actually scams in disguise How To Identify A Facebook Scam Before It's Too Late How To Identify A Facebook Scam Before It's Too Late Read More , and you could unknowingly be spreading malware or tricking people into giving away sensitive data. To be on the safe side, you should be wary of any and all of these “share me” events.

9. Anything You May Regret Later

You may think this last one is a cop-out because it’s a blanket catch-all for anything not yet covered, but if there’s one rule that you live by on social media, let it be this one: never post anything that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see.

The one thing that everyone should know about the Internet is that once something is available to the public, it’s pretty much impossible to remove it completely Nothing Gets Deleted From the Internet, Ever. Here's How. Nothing Gets Deleted From the Internet, Ever. Here's How. These people are trying to back up everything on the web. It's a big job, but you can help. Read More . Your photos, videos, and posts? There’s no way to know who’s seen it, who’s saved it, and who’s sharing it with someone else.

So if you post something today and regret it two years down the road, you may be able to delete it from your account, but it can never be completely erased. Even modes of self-destruct communication Self-Destruct: The Future Of Personal Communication Self-Destruct: The Future Of Personal Communication This message will self-destruct in five seconds… Who would have thought that today, what was once in the realm of fiction is now reality? Read More aren’t perfect in this regard. Never post or share anything that you aren’t 100% behind.

Be Careful What You Do on Social Media

If you’re a heavy user of social media and this article scared you, good. The truth is that we really can’t trust social media 4 Reasons You Should Never Trust Social Media 4 Reasons You Should Never Trust Social Media You just got burned in an argument because, once again, you quoted something you saw on social media. Why does this keep happening? Read More and even the smallest mistakes — which may seem fine at the time — can have terrible consequences when you least expect it. So, be careful.

That being said, social media still has a lot of upsides to it. Check out these amazing social media stats and facts 12 Social Media Facts and Statistics You Should Know in 2016 12 Social Media Facts and Statistics You Should Know in 2016 Here are some interesting facts and statistics about the social media landscape that show where we are today and where we might eventually end up during 2016. Read More to see how the landscape is both growing and changing into something different. These social media TED Talks 5 Inspiring Social Media TED Talks You Should Watch 5 Inspiring Social Media TED Talks You Should Watch Social media has taken over the Internet. There are many who are actively trying to decipher the power of social media. Some of them have even given TED Talks that are well worth a watch. Read More provide some interesting insights as well.

Have you ever posted or shared something on social media only to have it come back and bite you in the rear? Tell us about it in the comments and let us know how you dealt with it!

Image Credits:man breaking into a residential building by Jarhe Photography via Shutterstock

  1. fcd76218
    February 5, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    10. Your bookmarks. From checking your bookmarks a nogoodnik can develop a pretty good profile on you.

    • Knight
      February 15, 2016 at 8:35 am

      And how on earth could anyone get hold of my bookmarks? Asides from hacking my computer, online-account somewhere or anything else breaking in-related that can be difficult to defend. Do you mean that your computer/phone/tablet is open to everyone and that you don't lock it or use a password? In my opinion this is just begging for something to happen.
      And besides bookmarks, there are millions of other ways to profile you without bookmarks. For exampe just follow the cookie crumbs (which most sites can do) that you leave all around you wherever you happen to surf.

  2. Danny
    February 2, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Or instead of broadcasting your life via social media, just use direct communication. I use Twitter to subscribe to my favorite celebs, but I don't tweet myself. I use email to talk to my old friends from all over the world. I use instant messaging to chat. And I use Signal to send encrypted, ahem, sexts to my wife.

    Or, if time permits, I can meet my friends IRL.

  3. Paul Werner
    February 2, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Funny that you all talk about not sharing Give Away links via social but (unless I'm mistaken) don't you all ask to share links to your Give Aways each time you do one? Not complaining since I share mine only to communities on G+ (if the contest isn't already shared there) or on my profile (sparingly) but I just had to LOL at that one you should NEVER do listed here

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:29 am

      Haha, good point Paul! It's fine to participate in giveaways like that. However, you should be cautious every time. If you let your guard down, you might end up sharing a scam-in-disguise, and nobody wants that! If you know that a giveaway is safe (like ours), then feel free to share it.

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