In today’s digital age, social media platforms are a ubiquitous feature of everyday life. They connect people from across the world and have given rise to online communities where users can share similar interests, hobbies and experiences. With the rise of social media, user privacy and the ability to maintain control over personal information have become of paramount importance.
Here are five essential tools users should be using to protect their privacy across various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, Snap, TikTok, X, YouTube):
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor or multifactor authentication offers an additional layer of security to your social media accounts. By requiring a second verification step to login to an account, such as a code sent to a mobile phone, 2FA ensures that your account remains protected even if your password is compromised. This simple yet effective tool significantly enhances your account security and privacy and is available on all social media platforms.
Privacy Checkup Tools
Social media platforms offer robust built-in privacy tools in your profile settings, providing users with critical features to manage their personal account data. For example, users can control which third-party apps have access to their account data and decide what data advertisers can use for targeted ads. Each platform offers their own set of unique tools tailored to their specific environment, such as Facebook’s “Privacy Checkup” and Instagram’s “Security Checkup”.
Incognito (also called private browsing mode or ghost mode) on social media platforms provide enhanced privacy by minimizing digital footprints. This feature allows users to browse profiles and content without leaving a trace, ensuring your activities remain unseen by other users and the platform itself. For example, when “Ghost Mode” is enabled on Snapchat, a user’s location will not be visible on other people’s maps.
Custom Audience Settings
Custom audience settings empower users to tailor who is able to view and interact with posts and stories. Select from options like ‘Only Me’, ‘Friends’, ‘Connections’, or custom lists to keep sensitive content private. Ideal for professionals, these settings allow targeted sharing with colleagues without broadcasting to your entire personal network.
Data Download and Deletion Tools
Data download and deletion tools offer users the option to download all the data the platform has saved on your profile. This feature provides users with a transparent insight into what kind of information is being collected from their online activity, including liked posts and search history. Regularly reviewing this data gives insights into what’s being stored and offers the option to delete data you’re not comfortable with, reducing potential risks if that data were ever compromised.
Each social media platform offers unique features to protect your privacy, and it is important to regularly review and adjust your profile settings to ensure your personal information remains secure and protected online.