Thursday, July 20, 2017

Staying Safe on Social Media

By: Allison Barnes, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 

Being an active social media user and working with it day-to-day, we see and hear about updates to platforms all the time. New features appear fancy and fun, getting users excited to try them out. One downside, however, is not knowing how that update impacts our account.  

For example, this June brought an update to Snapchat that pinpoints to friends where you are located on a map. But here’s the scary part. The update shares your exact location and depending on your settings, will also share your location with the public. Looking at the map, users can zoom in on your location, which includes street names and an aerial view of where you are.

This update was meant to show Snapchat users where large amounts of activity are going on, but the controversy of sharing the user’s location detracted from Snapchat’s goal.

Staying safe on social media is essential. You also need to be smart and always be aware of changes to settings. Follow these steps to being safe:

  • Check your privacy and account settings regularly, and think about who you want to see your posts or profile. Social media platforms provide options on who can see your profile and what you want them to see. These options range from completely private, to only your friends, to open for everyone to see. 
  • Be smart about what you are sharing with followers. Are you comfortable with sharing your location or what you are doing? Will a photo or post embarrass a family member, friend or employer? Being cautious of what you are posting is another way of staying safe.
  • Keep your personal information personal. Hide information like your email address, phone number and home address from your profile and don’t publicly share this information. If someone you know requests this information from you over social media, private message or email your information to them.

So how can you keep your location private from the latest Snapchat update? Open the app and pinch your fingers together like you would to zoom out. The map screen will open, with a pinpoint on your current location. In the upper right-hand corner, click on “Settings.” Three options will be provided under “who can see my location,” Ghost Mode, My Friends, and Select Friends. Ghost Mode will hide your location from anyone, including your friends on Snapchat. 

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