Carnegie Mellon University

Woman on phone using social media

March 09, 2021

Are you really safe on social media?

TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms help you to stay in touch with family and friends around the world. We're all spending more time apart than ever before, so connecting online can be crucial.

Still, it's important to remember that these platforms can pose risks if you aren't thoughtful about how you use them. To help protect your privacy and the security of your social media accounts, follow these top tips.

Steer clear of oversharing. When you post personal information on social media you make yourself, your loved ones and even your physical belongings a target for local and online criminals. Avoid posting names, phone numbers, addresses, school and work locations, and other sensitive information as text or in a photo.

Disable geotagging. Geotagging allows anyone to see where you are – and where you aren't – at any given time. Instead, if you really want to share your experiences on social media, post that picture at a later date or time to maintain the privacy of your current location.

Turn on Privacy Settings. Check and update your privacy settings frequently, so only people you know can view your posts. Enable the strongest privacy options that social media sites offer, and make confirming your settings a habit. Some social media apps regularly push updates that disable settings.

Lock It Down. Protect your devices with secure passwords. Even better, enable two-factor authentication (2fa) on your accounts. Most social media platforms offer 2fa, which requires you to sign in using both your password and a unique, one-time-use code. (Just like you use DUO to access CMU services!) Look for the option to enable 2fa in your app's settings.