Social media

Online social networking is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family but think about what you’re posting and who could see it.

Tips for safe online use of social media:

  • Avoid posting anything that shows where you work – disgruntled clients may target you because of where you work, even if they don’t know you.
  • Avoid posting personal information, for example dates of birth, maiden names, names and details of children etc.
  • Think carefully before accepting friend requests – is the person really a friend? (If you’re not sure, it’s OK to ignore the request).
  • Use privacy controls on sites like Facebook so only approved users can view your page .
  • Restrict who can share information and photos you have posted to your page so other users cannot forward your information.

There are no guarantees of privacy, even with tight security settings. Anything you put on a social networking site can be cut, pasted, or sent simply by taking a ‘screen shot’.

Photos are often ‘tagged’ so that the names of the people in the photo are given. This can violate the privacy of the people linked to the photo. In the security settings of social networking profiles, ensure that where possible other users are restricted from being able to ‘tag’ individuals in photos they post to their own accounts.

When using social networking sites on smart devices (such as iPhones or iPads), users can ‘check in’ to locations, which simply shows where they are, e.g a particular restaurant. Others can use this type of information to track down the user.

Photos taken on smart devices are often automatically geo-tagged (geographical data is imprinted into the photo properties which shows where the photo was taken). When these photos are uploaded to social networking sites, this data often remains. If a user has uploaded, for example, a photo of their new house extension or vegetable garden, someone could potentially use the geo-data embedded in the photo to obtain the user’s home address.

Talk to family, especially children, about staying safe online and as part of that, discuss the importance of not revealing personal or professional information about a government worker online without explicit permission. link) has some good guidance available around cyber security, scams, protecting your identity and general safety online.

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