Cyber Security

Do Facebook Privacy Settings Protect You from Facebook?

February 27, 2014

Phoenix TS Intern

If we have a bad day, everyone needs to know about it. Stuck in traffic? You should probably complain about it via Twitter. Was the sunset pretty? Hurry! Make sure you post it to Instagram!

Everyone feels the need to share milestones in their lives – college application letters, engagements, babies, job promotions, vacations, pictures from a night out. From Twitter to Tumblr, we have access to the most intimate information, shared willingly by the user.

Even if you don’t actively use social media, just being a part of the digital world has a consequence. Everything you do leaves a digital footprint. It’s important to make sure that footprint won’t come back to haunt you.

Private Facebook Messages and WhatsApp

Even with the best privacy settings on your social media accounts, that still may not be enough to protect you from the watchful eyes inside the company’s walls. Facebook’s 10 year anniversary occurred recently, and over the past decade they have faced countless lawsuits regarding their privacy settings and the company’s use of personal info.

Recently, Facebook has allegedly been scanning private Facebook messages from user to user. Also, whether you already realized it or not, Facebook records every single action you take on the website in an “Activity Log”. Want to see how much you stalk that ex?

Facebook Activity Log

Also, anyone concerned over those messaging issues should reconsider using the popular messaging app WhatsApp after the $19 Billion acquisition by Facebook. Already suspicion about how Facebook will use the data collected from 450 million users worldwide has been questioned by European Union officials.

Other issues regarding privacy settings can end up hurting you in ways beyond the loss of personal information. Your activity in social media affects your academic path and career.

How can your career suffer a hit?

When searching for jobs or applying to schools, what you post online can make or break your chances. If content you post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) is deemed as inappropriate, you run the risk of losing your job.

This past December a teacher lost her job for what she posted on her personal Facebook account. In the past, teachers faced the chopping block for things on their social profiles.

Is social media really private? The majority of schools and employers perform Google searches of potential employees and students. They start with LinkedIn and then checkout all your available social media profiles. Social media ensures you a public platform in a presumably private setting.

Even if you establish strict privacy settings, you’re still responsible for the content on those profiles. Keep that in mind the next time you want to vent on Facebook.

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson

There is a lesson to be learned in all of this. No matter how old you are, think twice before posting anything online. As a good rule of thumb when using social media, walk away for a few minutes before posting anything partially questionable. The daunting thing about posting personal information or using messaging services is once you hit delete, it’s never really gone.

When monitoring your posts, think of the engagement in terms of “personal branding”. Would this hurt me now or in the future?

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