Social media has become a more useful tool in the past few years in its ability to allow individuals to network and stay in contact with others and companies to remain engaged with audiences. While it does provide a lot, it is also frequently subject to criticism for its addictive nature and theft of users’ data. For social media to be at its most advantageous, users need to be aware of how to properly use it and remember to maintain those strategies. Here are five tips to keep in mind when using social media.
- Change your passwords frequently. Last Wednesday, multiple Twitter accounts of prominent people and companies were hacked, promoting a Bitcoin scam that gained $120,000 from individuals. Among the hacked accounts were the Twitters of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Apple, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden. While little is known on how the hackers got into verified accounts, most hackers are able to get into accounts because users do not change their passwords frequently. It is easier to keep the same password for everything, but it is recommended by the Better Business Bureau to change all passwords once a month. This can help keep accounts secure, preventing hackers from not only posting on social media, but stealing the information of the account’s owner.
- Use two-factor authentication. Two-factor logins allow for you to add another device to your login process. After you enter your username and password, a code will be sent to your phone or email address for you to input. This process can be tedious, but it makes your account more secure as anyone trying to login to your account will be stopped since they probably will not have access to the code, and you will know if someone else tried to access your account.
- Limit the amount of information you put on social media. Work-related social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, allow for users to put their resume on their profile (which contains lots of personal information), and Facebook gives users the option of making their phone number public. While listing either of those can be beneficial in that they allow people to reach out to you in other ways than just social media, they can be dangerous in that they can allow anyone to view your personal information. There is the obvious concern of people using someone’s personal information to harass them, but additionally, any information put on a profile (whether or not it can be viewed by others) is information that hackers could have access to if they got into the account. In order to maintain safety, it is best to not give social media too much personal information.
- Be mindful of what you post. It’s easy for social media to become your own personal diary where you post everything you’re thinking about and doing. However, it is important to keep in mind that once something is posted to social media, it is accessible forever, even after it has been taken down. Internet archives exist that can log every page posted publicly, including Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. Additionally, it is easy for people to take screenshots of any questionable posts they might see. Any of these methods can be viewed by employers, as well.
- Stop clicking on random links and games on social media. Although those Facebook links for the “what historical figure do you most closely resemble” or “what avocado are you” games are fun, the page that has the “game” gains access to your profile information. Not clicking on links on Facebook or social media in general can prevent sites from gaining access to your personal information or hacking your account. As evidenced by the hack last Wednesday, even the most seemingly reputable sources can fall victim to hackers and, although it is natural to want to trust the links promoted by verified users, it is best to not do so until you know more information (and absolutely do not give them any money).