Technology February 20, 2018 Last updated February 18th, 2018 3,160 Reads share

How to Protect Your Personal Social Networks Data

Image Credit:

Among the most widely used social networks in the world, Facebook leads with more than 2 billion users out of 7.5 billion inhabitants. Instagram closely follows with 700 million users, Qzone which has 653 million, Tumblr which gathers 555 million and finally Twitter with 330 million. In France, people spent 1:20hr per day on social networks on average.

Faced with this growing number of users and constantly changing social networks, the chances of account hacking have increased. There are also higher threats of identity theft, password theft or computer bugs.

It is therefore necessary to protect all your personal data available on the internet.

Protect your personal data

Here is the question, how to set up a useful security and protection setting whether on social networks or on the internet? You need to consider how to set the confidentiality of your profile on the main social networks i.e. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

As a general rule, 4 types of data are likely to be collected on social networks:

  1. Profile information (name, age, profession, studies, etc.)
  2. Traces of your activity (likes, shares, comments, group membership, etc.)
  3. Your silent activity (each of your movements is recorded even if you are silent)
  4. Geo-location of your device.

To prevent this data from being stolen, social networks have implemented their own security policies with settings for privacy.

Here is a little overview of the data protection rules of the main social networks.

Protect your data on Facebook

The undisputed leader in the social media market, Facebook, is the most attacked and most criticized network in the world. Still, it’s possible to protect your personal data, especially since Facebook has been forced to adapt its privacy policy.

The social network has set up clear and precise explanations in one of its sections entitled “Privacy basics” with a welcome message: “You decide who can see what you post on Facebook.”

In this section, to protect your personal data, you will learn how to:

  1. Control what you post on Facebook
  2. Manage the interactions and impact of others on you and your content
  3. Customize what you see
  4. Protect your account
  5. Control the ads that Facebook shows you

Protect your data on Instagram

Second comes Instagram, the social network dedicated to sharing photos and videos. Through accessing the “Privacy and Security” section, Instagramer’s will find useful information on how to protect their personal data. Its information will help:

  • Control your visibility
  • Resolve abuse and block people
  • Share photos securely
  • Report something (hacked accounts, identity theft, various abuses etc.)

There are few privacy settings on Instagram, but it’s possible to switch to a private account. It is also possible to change Instagram settings from Facebook.

Protect your data on Twitter

From the outset, Twitter warns that everything that is said about Twitter Services is visible anywhere in the world instantly. Thus, protecting your personal data and your account becomes essential for users.

Your short message of 280 characters on Twitter (which was 140 characters before November 2017) is likely to go around the world. Thankfully, Twitter’s privacy policy remains transparent and protects your virtual identity. It’s mentioned in the section “Twitter safely! The basics” you will find the information to:

  1. Protect your account
  2. Evaluate links on Twitter and avoid phishing
  3. Select your third apps rigorously, etc.

The section ” Protection of your personal data  ” will help you for:

  • Control of shared information,
  • Safety advise for teachers, parents and adolescents

Protect your data on other social networks

Digital identity or e-reputation

The digital identity (IN) or e-reputation is composed of publications, traces that we leave (or that others leave for us) during our passage on the internet, voluntarily or not.

To regulate this digital activity, the CNIL works for the protection of the rights of Internet citizens thanks to the computer law and freedom under the right to respect for private life.

This digital data does not go unnoticed on the net, they are of different types:

  1. Technical traces: Each connection related to the use of the browser and hardware.
  2. Traces of use: When creating an account on an online service, or posting photos and/or comments (on blogs, social networks) and even when an online purchase, these traces are controlled more or less effectively.

Traceable data types

Connecting to the internet is already enough to be traceable. The Internet is a public sphere, and protecting it completely is extremely difficult. Despite this, some basic rules must be put in place to protect your data.

Start by navigating a private browser window. Make the best use of search engines that do not collect your personal data like Qwant etc.

Firewall, antivirus, anti-malware: Protect you from external attacks and spyware that seek to collect sensitive personal data.

Here are some examples of “traceable” data:

IP address of your devices: IP is a unique number assigned to your router or modem by your ISP. IP address is usually detected by all the sites and servers that your computer connects to.

Internet connection with an Internet service provider: According to the law, ISPs must keep traces of your Internet connections for a period of one year.

Participation in blogs, wiki, content sharing via sites like Flickr, YouTube, Deezer. These kind of sites allow you to have a global overview of your tastes, opinions and interests. Tracing can also come from someone else (Beware of the “friends” who talk about you on sites, use the option “identification” of certain platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or who name you simply on a forum etc.)

Which tools better protect data on the net?

Here are some tools and best practices to put in place for security and to protect your personal data on the internet.

The site “Trace your shadow” informs you about the traceability of your data on the internet. It gives you some tips to better control them. From the home page, you can select the type of device used to connect to the Internet and its uses and click on the “Investigate” tab. eg. I log in from my computer via Windows, I’m likely to leave 24 traces on the net.

Install and use the CCleaner software. This free software for cleaning your computer removes all unnecessary data (temporary files, browsing history, cookies etc.).

Emptying the internet cache removes the recent history. Indeed, it takes up space on the hard drive and each time you’re on the web.

Nicki Jenns

Nicki Jenns

Read Full Bio