When the notorious Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal happened earlier this year, the world was collectively shocked. Everyone from the government to Facebook's two billion users couldn't believe that Mark Zuckerberg, the owner and CEO of Facebook, could be capable of leaking personal information from 87 million users.
Even though this security breach was appalling end led many to cut ties with Facebook and delete their profiles, we tend to forget one important thing. We are the ones who decide what information we want to share on social media. And if we cross the line, we can seriously compromise our privacy.
But you don't have to go as far as to delete your social media accounts. You just need to make sure to post smart.
So, in the light of the recent Facebook scandal, we compiled a list of 7 details you should never share on social media.
1. Your Address And Phone Number
Let's start with the basics. Never share your address and phone number on social media. You may think it's harmless, but when you stop to think about it, you're actually giving away your most private information to a bunch of people you don't know that well.
Apart from a small group of real, trustworthy friends, your social media accounts are probably filled with acquaintances and even people you've never met. Think about that when filling out your profile. And if the social network requires that info, you can always set it up so that only you or a group of chosen people can see it.
2. Self-Incriminating Proof
On several occasions, there were cases of people put in jail for serious crimes they admitted to on social media. It may all look like fun and games but you need to be aware that when you're posting something, it's for the whole world to see. Anyone could take a screenshot of your post and show it to the authorities.
In other words, saying you'd had a few and still decided to drive, or posting a photo including illegal substances could definitely get you in trouble.
3. Vacation Details
What's the point of social media if you're not going to post photos of your vacation, right? Photos, statuses and check-ins from our exotic adventures around the world are our favorite way to use social media, but you need to be careful with this.
If you get overly excited and post one too many details about your vacation, you might as well give people the key to your apartment while you're gone. Instead of posting about your vacation while there, it's safer to wait until you're back home. Or at least, don't share the exact dates of your trip.
4. Credit Card And Bank Details
Maybe it seems redundant, but this happens all the time. You get excited about a new credit card or can't resist posting about getting a raise so you add a little proof by including a photo. When it comes to protecting your online privacy, this is a huge no-no.
These photos that show your credit card or your bank account balance give away more information than you know. Hackers are getting really skillful and creative nowadays and even with scarce information, they can steal your data and wipe your bank account clean.
5. Confidential Information
If you had to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for work or have access to any kind of inside information, that applies to social media as well, although many people seem to be unaware of it. If you post something confidential, you can still cause yourself a lot of legal problems.
You should be extra careful even if you are not under a legally binding contract. For example, complaining about your boss on Facebook is very likely to get you in a very unpleasant situation at work.
6. Bragging About Money Or Big Purchases
Social media is all about your public image. So, it's natural that you want to brag a little if you're doing well. Just know that saying you just won the lottery or posting a photo of your new expensive car could get attention from the wrong crowd.
As we already said, social media is packed with people you don't know that well. The more friends and followers you have, the bigger the chance there are some shady people following you for the wrong reasons.
7. Anything You Might Regret
Finally, don't post anything you might regret. Maybe you're mad at your boss or have just broken up with your partner, and we all know that's a slippery slope for posting something that you'll later wish you hadn't.
Avoid explicit content, inappropriate photos and rude comments because they only seem like a good idea at the moment. Remember that once you post something online, you can delete it but you can never undo it.
The best recipe for staying safe on social media – only post the information you feel comfortable giving away.
To get another layer of security and keep the hackers at bay, invest in a fast and reliable VPN service that ensures your personal information, passwords and online activities stay private. Try SwitchVPN for free here.