Is online privacy a concern for you? What about the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts? Have you checked these too?

Personal management of social media settings is now more important than it has ever been. Although many people are more concerned with promoting their business than they are with settings, privacy should not be overlooked.

Why should one manage privacy settings you ask?

Your social media sites’ privacy settings are important because security is always an issue when new content is added.

Because there are different settings at each social media platform, they should all be addressed individually. We will review 3 of these platforms – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


The most popular among the social media websites, Facebook, scores a monthly average of 1 billion active users. The platform has 3 places where you can set your privacy settings.

The privacy bar allows you to change the default settings on your posts and change who can see your staff. You can either share your content with the public, which means everyone will be able to access it, or you can limit the availability of your content to the friends of your friends or just your friends.

You are also given the option to update the setting on who sees your next post each time you publish one. Clicking the gray icon next to the Facebook post button allows you to do just that.

One of the less-known features the privacy tab also has is the possibility to limit who sees your old post. If you have made a lot of posts in the past not realizing you wouldn’t want everybody to be able to access them in future, you can beef up your security by limiting the audience for old posts.

privacy settings


The privacy settings at Twitter are also straightforward. Your account is either set private or it isn’t. Opening the settings menu of your account with them allows you to change privacy settings. Accessing the Security and Privacy settings in the Twitter menu, you can select Protect my Tweets and choose whether to allow anyone with Internet access or just your followers to access your tweets.

Additionally, you can check the option to allow your followers to see where each tweet is posted from or decide whether those who have your email address can access information on your Twitter profile.


This social media site is somewhat different from the rest in terms of privacy. If you have your privacy set too high with them, you may not be able to use the social network to your full benefit. However, there are still some choices available to you.

Scrolling over the Account & Settings button in the top right corner grants you access to Privacy & Settings section where the privacy settings are numerous and allow you to control how your content is displayed across the website. Clicking on Edit Your Public Profile link, you can decide which information anyone with access to LinkedIn can see.

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Author Bio

John Constantinides is an experienced entrepreneur, SEO expert and social media strategist. Throughout his years of cutting-edge work in the digital marketing, web design and tech start-up fields, he has successfully developed multiple business ventures and become an authority on search engine marketing and optimization.

When I started getting messages from Facebook saying that a new app called Messenger was going to be available, I pretty much ignored them.  Why would I need to download an app when I was getting my private messages without one?  Then, the day came when I went to retrieve a message and a Facebook message came up saying that the message was unavailable without Messenger.  I went to the app to download, and they were asking for, what I thought, was way too much information!  That was when I decided that I would simply refuse to accept this app; I could just wait until I got to a computer to retrieve my messages.  That didn’t work out so well.  So, my refusal to download Messenger lasted about 3 weeks.

My refusal stemmed from the fact that I thought that Messenger wanted way too much user information, and I was not alone in feeling this way.  Messenger wants to access your phone, its camera and your geo-location.  After a while, I started to think that this really wasn’t excessive.  Think about it:  the app needs your phone information because that is the device you will be using it on, it wants access to your camera so you can send pictures through the app, and it wants your geo-location so that your friends can see if you are in their vicinity.

With all of this in mind, all of my good reasons for not downloading Messenger were really just excuses.  I have many apps that need to access my phone and geo-location. The GasBuddy app uses my geo-location to show me which gas stations are close to my location and have the best prices.  I also have both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks apps that use my phone information so that I can find the nearest locations and get points for purchases so that I can get bonuses, like free beverages or food.  Swarm (formerly known as FourSquare) lets me check in at various locations just by “seeing” where I am.  It also remembers where I’ve been, so if I’m close to that a place I was at previously, that will be one of the choices I have for a check-in.  Scramble with Friends, Words with Friends, Candy Crush…..all of these apps use my phone’s information to allow me to know which of my friends are playing and if they’re available for a game.  If I allow all of this, why would I NOT allow Messenger?  After all, Messenger would be the app that would be one of the more useful ones on my phone!

Messenger is a Facebook app.  Facebook already knows all there is to know about me (or all that I feel the need to share).  I don’t allow strangers into my Facebook life, so they wouldn’t be entering my Messenger life.  Not downloading Messenger started to make no sense at all.  In fact, the one thing that would have stopped me from downloading the app is if it asked me for credit card/banking information; it did not ask for any of that.  So, I am now in the ranks of Messenger users and now, a month later, I’m not sorry I gave in.

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As a young adult, Martin Kaellstroem, a founder of the Swedish company Memoto, lost both of his parents to cancer.  This life altering event motivated him to develop a camera that would create a record of a person’s life, as it was being lived.  This “life logging camera” is a small device, worn either around the user’s neck, or clipped to a shirt, that will take a picture every 30 seconds.  So, if the user is taking a walk through the woods, the camera will capture the views of the walk.  If he is with friends, the camera will capture each person or object that is in front of him.  The camera does not have an “Off” button.

Mr. Kaellstroem is now in his late 30s.  He has said, “When you lose your parents, you realize that you don’t live forever.  It definitely affected me in my entrepreneurship.  I can’t wait until later to fulfill my dreams; I have to live my dream now.”  He came to realize that normally, when someone has a camera, it is to record special events in life when those closest to the person are at their best.  But, he says, “You don’t know in advance which moments will be important in the future.  Perhaps you meet your future wife or witness an accident or a crime.  These are pictures you might want to return to.”  It’s a nice sentiment, but will people be turned off knowing that they will be photographed every 30 seconds?

Mr. Kaellstroem views this life logging camera as a way to collect memories and doesn’t feel that it invades anyone’s privacy, but, The Truman Show and Orwell’s “Big Brother” come to mind when thinking of this.   Being a fairly private person myself, I would not agree to meet with a friend, or friends, knowing that I will be photographed every 30 seconds during our time together.  I don’t do anything shady; I just don’t like having my picture taken.  I would be very uncomfortable knowing that every 30 seconds, I will be subjected to this.  So, rather than submit to what would be a stressful situation, I would opt out of a dinner or lunch with a “life logger” friend.

These cameras are very small devices that look similar to iPod minis.  The pictures are collected and sorted automatically based on GPS location, lighting and time of day.  Any pictures taken can be shared on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.  Memoto’s co-founder, Oskar Kalmaru, feels that the camera is more like a tech junkie’s diary.  Many people who don’t have the patience or motivation to constantly write about their experiences in a diary will love this life logging idea.  Mr. Kalmaru says, “I’ve failed several times when trying to write a blog or travelogue.”  There is nothing to think about with a life logging camera; the camera automatically records your days.

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Spammers are making use of a very effective type of spyware:  web bugs.  When a spammer sends out a mass e-mailing campaign, the web bugs will allow him to see when each of the e-mails were viewed.  Not only that, they will also let him know which e-mail addresses are valid and which are not.  They will not be seen by you, but they are there.  So…are there web bugs tracking you? 

You may be thinking, “No web bugs can get me!  I don’t open an e-mail unless I know the sender.”  Well, think again!  Spammers aren’t the only one wise to the benefits of web bugs; legitimate advertisers use them too!  This is how they know which ads to place on your browser when you open it.

When it comes to cookies, browsers are able to refuse them; web bugs are a different matter.  Since web bugs are generally GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format) which are widely used on the Internet, browsers will usually accept them.  Most people think of photos when they think of a GIF, so how can they not be seen?  Even though a GIF is an image, spammers and advertisers know how to disguise it.  In a spammer’s e-mail, the GIF will be so tiny (about 1 X 1 pixel), and made to blend in to the background of the e-mail, that you will not even know it’s there.  Legitimate advertisers are very talented when it comes to hiding web bugs, too.  The web bug is usually placed in the website’s logo.  You will be looking right at it, but will not notice it at all.

More and more people are sending e-greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. instead of mailing out a card.  If you’ve ever received or sent one of these, you have been tracked by web bugs.  When the sender of the e-greeting card chooses the option to be notified when the card is viewed, web bugs are responsible for the notification.

Concerns for privacy are elevated by the fact that web bugs are mostly used by spammers at this time.  Because of these web bugs, the spammers will know way too much personal information about the individuals who open their e-mails such as the IP address of the recipient’s computer, which URL the web bug was sent from, which URL was viewed, and exactly when it was viewed.   So, web bugs are like little Peeping Toms, watching your every move.

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Criminals, for the most part, aren’t very intelligent.  Many of them are also proud at how clever they are, so they will brag about their “jobs” to everyone they know.  They’ll even brag about these “jobs” to strangers in bars.  In the past, it took time for word of their “cleverness” to spread, but now, thanks to social media, the world can hear all about how good and clever these criminals are.  When “Johnny” robs 10 houses in one night, he’ll go home and boast about it on Facebook.  With “Johnny’s” story on the Internet, in a matter of hours, the whole world will hear all about what he did.

It used to be that many crimes were solved because the criminals themselves would brag to so many people that the police would eventually hear about it.  But, spreading the story by word of mouth could take a while.  Now, the police can solve a crime in a few days.  All it takes is for one proud crook to post his story, in detail, on Facebook and Twitter.  Some will even take pictures of their loot and post them to Instagram.  There are others who are so cocky that they will videotape the crime as it happens and post it to YouTube.  Criminals are way more cocky than they are smart.

Social media has been helping criminals spread the word of their crimes for a while now and the police are starting to realize that social media could help them to catch these thieves.  The police department in Redwood City, CA has discovered that by using Pinterest, they can help to reunite victims with their stolen property.  When a criminal is caught, any recovered property is photographed and posted to Pinterest.  According to Detective Dave Stahler, a family heirloom was returned to its rightful owner within hours of its picture being posted in February 2014.  Three people called with information to help Detective Stahler identify the owner.

The Richmond, Virginia police department has solved murder cases with their Pinterest posts and in one Pennsylvania town, the police department started a Pinterest board to post mug shots of those suspected of committing crimes.  Since this Pinterest board went active, arrests for sexual assault, theft and fraud has risen by 57% in that town.  While the use of Pinterest and other social media isn’t that widespread, other cities and towns will be looking at the success rates and may start using social media themselves.

While Pinterest is the latest tool used by law enforcement, MySpace is the place most used.  It has been found that for some reason, MySpace is what crooks use to boast about their crimes.  The police are taking advantage of this.

While some police departments are using social media to catch criminals, others are using it to help bring the police and citizens closer together.  Many people in New York City were complaining that the police were overly aggressive, so the Police Commissioner started a Twitter campaign under the hashtag “myNYPD”.  He urged New Yorkers to post pictures of police and citizens interacting.  There were some pictures posted of police officers smiling and joking around with people on the streets, but the campaign backfired when most of the pictures posted were of police officers using “unnecessary force” while making arrests.

New York City’s Twitter campaign to improve community/police relations was a failure, but Detective Stahler of California has proven that social media can be a valuable tool to catch thieves and to reunite people with any property that has been stolen from them.  One flaw in using social media as a crime fighting tool is its newness.  Before it can become commonplace throughout the United States, there are some issues that need to be addressed.  It’s not known how Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts will stand up as evidence in a court of law.  Will the evidence be allowed by a Judge, or will it be thrown out of Court?  This isn’t stopping the police from taking full advantage of a criminal’s need to brag on social media, but they know they must gather other hard evidence before bringing the matter to trial.

Privacy is another issue that is being brought up about using social media to fight crime.  As of right now, all of the crimes that have been solved by using social media started off as tips called in to the police.  It’s not known how far the police can and will go to solve a crime.  Will they start hacking the social media accounts of suspects?  Will the social media accounts of the suspects’ families and friends be safe from scrutiny?  How about neighbors?  The privacy of many innocent people could be breached if this happens.

Privacy is one of our most important assets.  Some privacy risks are beyond our control, but we can take control over our Internet privacy.  When you use Privacy Partners’ proxy servers, you can change your IP address so you can browse the Internet anonymously.  Each connection is secure and each time you make a connection, your information is encrypted.  This makes your information unreadable and useless to identity thieves.  Another bonus is that your connections are never monitored like many of the so-called “free” proxies.  Sign up for the FREE trial today.  Your privacy will be safe with each connection, whether it’s at home or at a public hotspot.

There are so many things that new parents have to worry about.  One device that many new parents purchase to keep “in touch” with their babies while they are asleep in their cribs is a baby monitor.  Today, baby monitors are so sophisticated that they can be accessed using the Internet.  This is helpful when the parents have a rare night out so they can watch and listen in on what is happening at home.  But, the more sophisticated the baby monitor is, the greater the chance of it being hacked.  One family in Texas found this out the hard way.

One night, 10 month old Allyson Gilbert was asleep in her crib when her father, Marc, heard a male voice coming from her room.  The voice yelled, “Wake up, you little slut!”.  Desperate to protect his little girl from this intruder, Mr. Gilbert ran to her room only to discover that Allyson was alone.  As he looked around, he noticed that the camera on the baby monitor was moving to get a better view of the room.  This is when he realized that the voice he heard came from the monitor, which had been hacked.  Quickly, Mr. Gilbert unplugged the monitor and then rushed to install better firewalls and security to his Internet so that something like this would not happen again.

The Gilberts were using a Foscam baby monitor.  The company was aware of the hacking danger on their monitors and sent out an e-mail to all owners advising them of the problem and how to fix it.  Unfortunately, the Gilberts bought their baby monitor from a retail store and not directly from the company, so they never received this email.  At this time, there are an estimated 40,000 of these baby monitors still being used that can still be hacked.

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On April 8, 2014 there was a news story on The Huffington Post site that prompted me to write this article.  While I realize the importance of parental supervision and monitoring, the story, Utah Mom’s Facebook Check May Have Saved Son From Shooting Plot, made me want to get this information out to as many people as possible.  For every parent who understands that they must supervise their kids whenever they go on the Internet, there is at least one parent who finds supervision and monitoring a waste of time or an invasion of their kids’ privacy.  After you read the Huffington Post article, if you are a parent who doesn’t supervise your kids on-line, I hope that you will change that.

In Salt Lake City, Utah, one mother, thanks to monitoring her son’s Facebook, still has him with her, safe and alive.  Without taking the time to monitor his Facebook, she and possibly many other parents would have gotten a call with tragic news.  This mother took action when she saw threats being made against her son.  She called the police immediately and they were able to apprehend two teens waiting near the intended victim’s high school, with a gun and a loaded magazine in the car.  These two were arrested and thankfully, no one was hurt.

Most kids are under the impression that by monitoring and supervising their social media, their parents are forcing them to give up their right to privacy.  The social media giants feel that children who are 13 years old are able to have accounts, but there are parents who will help them lie about their ages so the kids can be on social media at much younger ages.  On the flip side, there are parents who will not allow their kids to have social media because they don’t feel that their kids are mature enough even at the age of 16.  Some parents may allow their kids to go on social media, but will take away the privilege if they happen to come across something on their child’s account that is inappropriate.  If a child wants social media, or wants their account back, there are times when they will find answer sites where they will ask how to sneak a social media account behind their parents’ backs.  One such question was recently on Yahoo Answers:

I want my Facebook account back?

Ok so I am 14 and my dad has confiscated my Facebook account because of a past incident and I have understood my mistake but he won’t give me my password.  I really want to add kids from my school.

Update 1: No need for anymore answer because i am making a new one and i doubt my dad would find that out unless i tell him that i would not tell so soon.

The Best Answer that was chosen by this teen is:

I see your update, but have to answer.

This is not a very smart idea. As a 14 year old, I know you think parents are stupid, but they aren’t. Your dad will find out about the other account and then you will not only lose Facebook, but you will lose other privileges as well. You will no longer be trusted.

You don’t say how long your dad has been holding your FB hostage, but you need to give him some time while you show him you can be responsible. He didn’t delete your account, so he is going to give it back, you’re just “grounded” from FB for a while. Sneaking around isn’t helping your case. In fact, it’s hurting it.

You need to have an open discussion with your dad and show him that you realize your mistake. You could also go over the linked article and check out the guidelines. Discuss them with your dad and see what the two of you can come up with as a compromise so he will allow you to access your account again.

But, if this just happened, you could wait a while before adding people. It seems that you really learned nothing from all this.

You would think that by choosing this as the Best Answer, the 14 year old would do the right thing and listen to reason.  Unfortunately, here is her comment even after choosing this answer:

Thanks for the advice but i made a new one and i doubt he would check. I am gonna tell him when i am between 16 – 18 and when he fully understands me.

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In 2012, Google started tests and demonstrations of their newest product, Google Glass.  This device has been talked about throughout the tech world, but there are many people who are unfamiliar with this device and what it does.  Basically, Google Glass is a very small screen that looks like a piece of glass, that is worn by either hooking it on to a pair of sunglasses or glasses, or worn by itself on its own frame.  The glass screen sits in front of and just above the eye and it can do a wide range of tasks.  With Google Glass, the user can see the time, send messages, search the Internet and even take pictures and shoot videos without using their hands.  Just say, “Shoot video” and you will be recording what is happening in front of you.

Around 8,000 people have become “Explorers” (Google’s word for those who use Google Glass) since its introduction.  In 2013, there were many Explorers visible at the annual music/film/interactive technology conference, SxSW.  There were so many Explorers that it was one of the main topics of conversation that year.  SxSW of 2014 just ended and still it had a lot of buzz, but even though many people were curious about it, many others felt a sense of unease and discomfort when in the vicinity of an Explorer.  How could this tiny device make so many people uneasy?  After all, it’s just a small piece of glass, right?

Well, people are uneasy near Explorers because they can’t tell if they are being recorded or not.  Whether someone is just having a conversation with an Explorer, or if an Explorer is passing by, a non-wearer of Google Glass just never knows what the Glass is being used for…or if the device is on at all.   Because of this, non-wearers feel that Google Glass is creepy.  In fact, people are so uneasy when they see an Explorer that they will do anything to not go near them.  It doesn’t matter that the Explorer may be sending a text, doing research, or doing nothing at all, a person will see the Glass and go the other way.

There have been instances where Explorers have been asked to leave stores, night clubs and meetings just because they were wearing Google Glass.  An Explorer could run into even bigger problems when checking in at the airport or even driving.  One woman, Cecilia Abadie, found out that wearing her Google Glass while driving could mean a traffic ticket.  Ms. Abadie was stopped for speeding in October 2013.  The officer saw her wearing Google Glass and issued another ticket for “Monitor visible to driver”.   Ms. Abadie took the matter to Court and in January 2014, she was found not guilty of the “monitor” charge.  The Judge had no choice in finding her not guilty because in order to prove his case, the officer had to prove that Ms. Abadie’s Glass was actually turned on at the time of the stop.  Unfortunately for the officer, that was impossible.

There have been many discussion groups focused on Google Glass and those who wear it love it.  However, anyone interacting with wearers don’t like it and find it barely tolerable.  Non-wearers get the feeling that they are always being recorded whenever someone nearby is wearing Google Glass.

It has been argued that there shouldn’t be this sense of discomfort around Google Glass Explorers because everywhere you go, there are security cameras that are constantly recording, and there are also many people taking pictures and videos with smart phones.  The other side of the argument is that with a smart phone, anyone can see when it is being used to record and security cameras are visible with a red light to show they’re recording.  With Google Glass, the only person who knows if it’s on, recording, or off is the wearer.  So, people aren’t actually uncomfortable about the Glass itself; they are uncomfortable about the unknown aspect of it.

When asked how they feel when they talk to each other, Explorers say they have no problem.  They know how Glass works, so they can pretty much tell what is happening with the other Explorer.  Non-wearers don’t know how it works, which makes them  uneasy about what could be happening even though all they see is a small piece of glass.

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When you are looking for work, companies are now asking you to agree to allow them to run a credit check on you (Looking for a Job?  Beware of this Privacy Risk).  Unfortunately, job seekers aren’t the only ones at risk of losing their privacy.  One of the newest ways that we are being asked to give up our privacy, no matter what age you are, is by being asked to give up social media log-in information.  Not only are companies doing this; schools are asking for this information too.

In a world where social media is so important, there are companies who do not want their employees talking about their jobs on-line.  Some don’t even want the company name listed as an “Employment Status” in a person’s social media profile.  Companies don’t look at this as getting free publicity, they consider it a threat.  If the company is not in control over what goes out over the Internet, that company doesn’t want anything going out at all.  The only way for an employer to be absolutely sure that employees aren’t discussing their jobs on social media is by having total access into their accounts.  Employers know that employees set their privacy controls, so this is why they want log-in information; so nothing can be hidden.

Employers are not just looking for posts and statuses that mention the company name.  They will also be looking for anything posted that, in their eyes, is inappropriate.  Pictures of wild parties that employees are tagged in or posts where the employees are talking about getting high or drunk are also targets of this invasion of privacy.  If you are supposed to be at a business conference out of state and your employer sees a picture of you in a bar with other conference goers, or if there is a picture of you in an outfit that your employer sees as “unprofessional”, you could lose your job.  The pictures could have been taken on your leisure time, but you were still away at the company’s expense.  If your boss sees these pictures as inappropriate and unprofessional, then others looking to contract with that company may see them as inappropriate and unprofessional as well.  If employees of a company are seen as unprofessional, then the company is seen as unprofessional.  Most employees today are what is called “at will”.  This means that an employer has the right to terminate you for whatever reason they deem fit.  Contract employees are not exempt; inappropriate/unprofessional social media posts can be seen as breaking the morals clause and will void the contract.

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All over the United States, the rate of unemployment is at an all-time high.  With many businesses closing or being forced to down-size, most people have lost jobs through no fault of their own.  Because jobs are so hard to come by, no one who is working wants to leave their positions.  So, when an opening does become available, there are hundreds, even thousands, of applicants looking for an opportunity to step in.  Resumes and applications are submitted online and many more are submitted in person or through the mail.  One thing all of these applicants have in common is that they must now give permission for the employer to run a credit check on them.

It seems harmless enough, but people don’t really understand why this is necessary.  The reason a credit check is done is to lessen the number of applicants that are being considered for a job to save time on the interview process.  How can a credit check eliminate some people on the spot?  Employers view a credit report and if the credit score is high, this is thought to be a trustworthy candidate.  If the credit score is low, the candidate is considered unreliable and untrustworthy, therefore, that person is a not even considered.  If a Personnel Department receives hundreds of applications for one job, many of them can be immediately eliminated due to bad credit.

If you tell this to someone who has had the same job for years, they don’t understand how this can happen.  They will sometimes see your inability to get a job as lack of trying.  They can understand how a failed drug test or shady background check could prohibit your employment, but, a credit score?  You see, the longer a person is out of work, bills get past due.  Each month of non-payment, or failure to make the minimum payment lowers that person’s credit score.  Simple solution:  don’t agree to allow the credit check.  Not so.  That will also count against you and your application will be eliminated from the bunch.

There are some problems that this system of judging candidates creates:

1.  These employers are only trying to lessen the amount of applicants they have for any particular job.  All they want to know is how high your credit score is.  If it’s low, you won’t even be called in for an interview so you can explain your position in all this.

2.  Even if you try your best to pay some of the balance on your bills, employers will see past due amounts as a weakness.  They will not take into consideration that you have been out of work, so money is tight.  They will not even consider that you need a job to pay your bills; they will only consider your low credit score and see you as a “high risk” person who will likely steal from the company.

3.  Whenever a credit check is done by a company, your privacy regarding your credit history is gone.  How many people in that company will see your credit report?

4.  When a person is serious about a job search, they will be filing applications and sending resumes out daily.  They will even try applying for jobs out of their usual field of employment.  This could amount to 20 or more job searches a week.  With all of these companies requesting your credit report, your credit score will be lowered even more.  This is because the credit reporting services can’t distinguish between a report for employment and a report for additional credit being applied for.

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