Security Social Media

10 Things You Should Never Share on Social Media

Ben Stegner Updated 24-04-2020

While social media is great for keeping up with family and friends, you can easily share too much on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

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A lot of people worry about what these companies will do with your data, but in reality, we give away more information ourselves than we think.

In this article, we look at some of the things you should never share on social media. Sharing these things could harm your privacy and safety.

1. Travel Plans

Facebook Leaving Vacation

Think twice before bragging about your amazing upcoming vacation or posting pictures while on a weekend trip. You never know who could see this information and use it to break into your home.

If someone knows where you live and has malicious intent, knowing that you’ll be thousands of miles away for two weeks is an open invitation to rob your home.

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As a safer alternative, don’t share any details or pictures about your trip until after you return. While this is less exciting, it doesn’t advertise to the world that you’re not at home for an extended period.

2. Location Data

In addition to your smartphone tracking your GPS coordinates, your browser also has a general idea of where you are based on your IP address and/or signed-in accounts. This is called geolocation, and it’s often used on social media to tag your post with your current location.

Before you post on any social network, check to see if the site adds your location data automatically and disable it before posting. Most of the time, there’s no reason to share your location with everyone who can see the post.

Did you also know that most photos contain metadata that shows the exact location where the picture was taken? If you aren’t aware of this, the photos you post on social media could compromise your privacy Online Photos and Personal Privacy: 4 Things to Check Before You Upload You love sharing your best photos online, but how much are you really revealing to the world? You could be sharing more than you think with strangers. Read More .

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This caution also extends to your physical address or phone numbers. You should never share your address or phone number on a public channel, as there’s no telling who could get hold of the information.

3. Personally Identifying Information

Sites like Facebook are full of valuable data for people who use social engineering to steal your identity on social media 7 Ways Hackers Steal Your Identity on Social Media Here are several ways your identity can be stolen on social media. Yes, scammers can steal your identity on Facebook! Read More . You should therefore avoid sharing information that’s used to verify your identity, such as your full date of birth. Never share photos of your driver’s license, passport, or credit card, which contain personal information that you don’t want to make public.

It’s also vital to keep an eye out for the “fun quizzes” that do the rounds on social media every so often. These ask you to answer questions such as where you went to school, what was the name of your first pet, etc.

These types of questions are often used as security questions to protect your online accounts. Thus, making these answers public could allows hackers to break into your accounts, so avoid them.

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Posted by Niki Acosta on Friday, April 3, 2020

4. Personal Complaints and Rants

Social media is not the place to air your personal grievances. If you want to complain about your boss, coworkers, or relatives, social media is a terrible place to do so. It’s likely that someone will see it and let the person know, resulting in a messy situation.

A lot of people use their social media accounts as a place to complain, for some reason. As a healthier alternative, why not start a private journal where you can rant all you want? However you choose to do it, keeping your anger off the public square of social media is a smart idea.

Note that many companies offer customer service on social media, so this doesn’t apply to getting help with a legitimate complaint.

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5. Self-Incriminating Evidence

While you definitely don’t want to get fired over a joke or incendiary comment, it’s something else entirely to break the law and leave the evidence on social media for all to see.

It’s unlikely that you’ll see any truly heinous crimes admitted to on Facebook or Twitter. However, you may very well come across incidents where people make light of driving drunk or taking selfies on the highway.

Some even share photos of their drug stashes, illegal firearms, or cash that they’ve stolen. This also applies to explicit photos of yourself—it’s a terrible idea to post those on any social platform.

Do everyone (including yourself) a favor by never posting anything like that on social media. The few likes you might get aren’t worth the damage to your reputation or even going to jail for committing a crime.

6. Expensive New Purchases

Many people love to share pictures of their new toys on social media. Whether you just got a new phone, laptop, car, TV, piece of jewelry, or anything else, you shouldn’t make the purchase public on social media.

For starters, these kinds of posts contribute to a major problem that affects most social networks: social media amplifies our insecurities and feelings of failure. When you post highlights from your life, it can inadvertently cause others to become envious and resentful.

The second reason is more practical. Telling the world that you have a shiny new toy could result in some people wanting to steal it or take advantage of you in some way. An extreme case would be announcing that you won the lottery. If people think you’re well-off because of what you can afford, they might look to use that to their advantage.

7. Personal Advice

Facebook Advice

We’ve all seen people ask for home sickness remedies or legal advice on social media. 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 (can’t) know all of the facts. If someone is sick or in trouble, they should seek professional help. This also applies to advice on exercise, weight loss, diet, finance, relationships, and other sensitive topics.

It’s best to stay quiet on all of this because if you give advice that ends up harming someone, they could pursue legal action against you.

8. Scammy Giveaways and Contests

Bill Gates Fake Giveaway

Social networks are prime ways for companies to run giveaways and contests, mainly because it’s so easy to click “Share” and not think twice about it. While there are plenty of legitimate giveaways on Facebook and the like, you should think carefully before sharing them all of the time.

If you constantly share giveaways, contests, and invites to Facebook games, you’re probably annoying your friends. Even more importantly, some of these so-called contests are actually scams in disguise. You could unknowingly spread malware or trick people into giving away sensitive data.

To be on the safe side, you should be wary of all posts that heavily encourage sharing and ask for personal details.

9. Privileged Inside Information

It’s an easy mistake to accidentally post private information on a public channel. However, you should be careful about exposing insider information on social media. If you’re aware of protected details at your job, don’t share those anywhere, especially online.

Talking about someone who’s going to be laid off next week, your company’s strategy for the new year, and other insider info could get you in big trouble.

10. Anything You Don’t Want to Make Public

This is a bit of a catch-all for anything not covered above. If there’s one rule that you should live by on social media, it’s this: never post anything that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see.

On the internet, once something has been published, it’s pretty much impossible to remove it completely. Even if you set your content to “friends only,” there’s no way to know who’s actually seen your posts and photos, saved them, or shared them 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 from the internet. A good rule of thumb is to never post or share anything that you wouldn’t want to put on the front page of a newspaper.

What You Shouldn’t Share Online

In this article, we’ve looked at what not to post on social media for your own good. The truth is that we really can’t trust social media. So even the smallest mistakes, which may seem fine at the time, can have terrible consequences when you least expect them.

With all this negativity, don’t forget that you can start enjoying social media again 7 Tips for Those Who Want to Start Enjoying Social Media Again If you're tired of social media and don't enjoy using it any more, you might need to get back to basics. Here are seven tips for making social media fun again. Read More by making a few tweaks to your use of social media. You may also want to brush up on common social etiquette mistakes or social gathering faux pas.

Related topics: Facebook, Online Privacy, Online Security, Personal Safety, Twitter.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Stephen Russell
    June 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Leave little online, Less is more
    Have tons of photos on phone BUT Id rather donate them to Princess lines from my past cruises to date
    otherwise or share maybe some on Pinterest, otherwise None.

  2. Guv
    February 22, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Nice Post! Especially the fact that you mentioned while on vacation, it's really not advisable to share that kind of news on social because it helps when someone is trying to use your identity or use you credit card for fraudulent purchases.

    They can easily find you on social

  3. Anonymous
    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.

  4. Anonymous
    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.

  5. Anonymous
    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.