You’ve Updated Your Facebook Status But Have You Updated Your Privacy Settings?

Monday, November 25, 2013, 10:16 AM


How much do you remember about agreeing to Facebook’s privacy policy?  The good news is that you are normal if your answer is “not much”; the bad news is that being normal in this situation, might not be a good thing. A new survey conducted by Harris Poll found that half of all adults have never read the most recent privacy policy updates on their social media website of choice.

I don’t think I know a single person who frequents the privacy policy pages for their social media sites, and these policies seem to change a few times a year. This does however bring up an interesting point to consider. If your selected social website is the website that knows the most about you and more than any other website on the Internet, shouldn’t you at least know what they will or will not do with your private and personal information?

The above referenced survey also found that one in five adults have never changed their privacy settings from the default settings for the social media account. This could be a concern because typically the default settings are the least secure and most public. Just clicking “accept” and starting to use your account is a recipe to leave your personal information and private data out in the open, and unintentionally give anyone access to the data you may not want to become public.

Intentional or not, sharing too much is major mistake made by many adults who prefer to have their professional and their personal lives separate. For most social media sites, leaving the default settings “as-is” grants any random associate, employee, boss, potential employer or competitor access to your personal and private information; which for many, isn’t a comforting thought.

Another security risk posed by the lack of changing your privacy settings is identity theft. With easy access to your name, address, pictures, and contact settings, you are setting yourself up for a one-way ticket to identity theft disaster. Identity thieves can’t collect your social security number over a social media website, but that’s not their only target. Much can be done with just the simple details that can be gathered through your social media feed, especially if you think it was just between you and your close friends.

To keep your personal life “personal” and avoid having your identity exploited. Take a minute to review your online privacy policy, learn how to use the privacy controls, and be sure to make as much of your personal information as private as possible. You can always choose to share more info in the future, but the Internet is forever and once your data is public it’s a one way street.