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7 tips to stay safe on social media 

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Whatever platform you prefer, social media accounts are great for keeping in touch with loved ones and staying up-to-date with the world.  Unfortunately, social media can also expose personal information to criminals or hackers looking to commit identity theft.  

While most of these social media sites have their own safety policies–including Facebook®, X®, Instagram®, TikTok®, and Snapchat®–you should also take action independently to stay safe online. 

Our Security Advisors provide guidance to millions on tech-related topics, covering everything from how to deal with a data breach to tech cleaning tips. Here are seven of our expert’s top recommendations to protect your privacy on social media. 

Keep personal information to yourself 

Refrain from publishing your phone number, home address, email address, or any personal details on your social media profile—what hackers can't locate, they can't misuse. Social media platforms make it effortless to reveal your precise location; but while receiving likes and comments from friends who've visited the same spots can be enjoyable, it can also clue people in on when you're away from home. Avoid letting potential wrongdoers determine that your home is vacant because you're miles away. And be mindful: even seemingly harmless details like your hometown or pet's name could potentially aid hackers in cracking your security questions or passwords. Always make informed choices, and only share what you're comfortable with the world seeing.  

Exercise caution before clicking 

Be wary of any suspicious links in messages or tweets. They could grant hackers access to your account or enable malware on your computer. If the sender is unknown or their online behavior seems dubious, delete it. It could be a phishing or scam attempt aimed at stealing your credentials or even social security number. For more information, refer to our guides on identifying phishing emails and understanding spam text messages. 

Set your accounts to private  

Limit your social media visibility to people you trust. If your Facebook, X, Instagram, or other accounts are public, consider the amount of information that scammers and marketers could extract from your posts. Adjusting your privacy settings may vary based on the platform, but is usually found under your account settings. On most platforms, you can make it so that only people you have accept. 

Regularly update your apps  

You should always keep your social media apps up-to-date to guard against bugs and hacks. Better yet, activate automatic updates so you don’t have to worry about regularly updating every app you use. Steps may vary depending on your device, but generally, his setting can be found under ‘Settings,’ then either ‘Software Update,’ ‘System Update,’ or ‘Update & Security.’ If you use an Android or iPhone® cell phone, or an iPad® tablet, follow the steps below. 

How to manually update apps on iPhone or iPad: 

  • Open the Apple App Store®.
  • Click your profile icon at the top of the screen. 
  • Click ‘Update’ next to your social media apps to update them specifically. 
  • Or, tap ‘Update All’ to update all apps at once. 

How to manually update apps on Android: 

  • Open the Google Playstore. 
  • Click the profile icon at the top right. 
  • Click Manage apps & device.  
  • Apps with an update available will be labelled "Update available." 
  • Click on ‘Update.’

Report and ignore duplicate friend requests  

If you receive a friend request from someone you've already added, refrain from accepting it—there's a high chance their account has been compromised. Instead, report it via the Settings tab on your social media account.  

Don’t use social media to sign in on other sites  

While logging into other sites using social media credentials makes things extra easy, it could also expose your personal details. If one of these sites gets hacked, all of your accounts that use that login will be vulnerable to misuse.  

Avoid quizzes that ask to access your profile 

While social media quizzes can be entertaining, they often aim to collect your personal data. Even if they promise not to post on your feed, they may still sell your information to scammers. Your quiz answers could even be used to help guess your passwords. So next time you’re tempted to see what kind of breakfast pastry you might be, resist the temptation.  

Follow these tips to help strengthen your digital security, and benefit from a safer online experience.  

And if you need more assistance making sure all your social media accounts are secure, 
reach out to a Security Advisor today.

Still need help figuring out your tech? That’s okay. Your Security Advisor is here to help. Call or chat today.

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