How To Protect Your Social Data With Privacy Settings

By on July 29, 2011

We live in the open age of public sharing, which doesn’t come without its risks. You often hear horror stories about identity theft, personal information being used for nefarious purposes or worse – hacking and profile deletion. For the average Joe, this might be a mild inconvenience, but for a business that has spent time, money and resources on building a social presence – it can spell disaster.

A lot of it happens because of human ignorance or error, and that you can’t really do anything about. The rest is up to your internet security, and of course – the privacy settings on each of your profile pages. If you’ve never tweaked your privacy settings, then this is one post you don’t want to miss.

Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook is perhaps the first profile you should switch to, as there are many complications that could arise from not having the right privacy settings active.

Change These Settings:

  • Search for you on Facebook
  • Send you friend requests
  • Send you messages
  • See your friend list
  • See your education and work
  • See your current city/hometown
  • See your likes, activities and other connections

From your profile: Account>Privacy Settings>Connecting on Facebook>*New Setting

Remove Your Profile Likeness From Google Search

From your profile: Account>Privacy Settings>Apps, games and websites>Public Search

In this window you can also change what information is accessible to your friends, your game and app activity and the instant personalization setting.

Twitter Privacy Settings

Twitter privacy is really a one click solution. Simply log into your Twitter account, go to settings and find the check box marked “Protect my tweets.” Done!

LinkedIn Privacy Settings

LinkedIn is probably the most secure site of the three, and you can choose from a variety of settings that will help you keep sensitive info private. Here are some of the main settings that you should tweak to be safe.

Your public profile can be hidden from public view, all you need to do is click on your name that appears on the top right hand side, click settings and adjust as needed. In your privacy control section you’ll be able to choose who can and can’t see your feed, photos and tweets. You can also manage your Twitter settings, which is helpful if you don’t want every tweet you post to show up on your LinkedIn page.

Youtube Privacy Settings

Ever needed to share a video with a few people, and not the entire world? It’s possible on Youtube. In your account settings all you need to do is click on the box marked “allow only friends to send messages or share videos.”

There are a number of other privacy options available, so check them out and be sure that your content is only being displayed to the people you know. If you’re a business or a marketer, then transparency is the name of the game. You don’t really need any of these privacy settings. Great for personal accounts though!

Have you ever had trouble with a privacy issue on a social media site? Tell us the story!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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