April 26, 2018

Securing Social

Changing some settings now is easy. Getting data back after something has gone wrong is impossible.

In the modern economy, if you are not being sold a product and are in a transaction, its likely that your info is the product if you aren’t doing the selling. Many people have been having goofy fun on the internet by giving out way too much about themselves to be truly safe for a very long time. But once we know better, we do better, right?

With that in mind, here’s some things you can do to make sure that you are doing everything you can to be safe on the major social media sites. It’s broken down in to a few sections – one for overall good sense tips, and then some specific changes to make on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Let’s roll, b*tches.

Know what you’re signing up for

Using social media, or really any application (games, apps on your phone, programs you use) or website, relies on an agreement between you, the user, and the provider. Not all providers act in good faith, as we have recently had overwhelmingly illustrated with Facebook’s user data “breaches,” so it’s on us to utilize both common sense and the tool itself to do what we can. Weigh whether that service is valuable enough to sell out your email, name, and other information for.

I have 279 passworded accounts that I know of, because they are in a password management tool (everyone should also use one of these. Dashlane is my favorite, but LastPass seems to be pretty popular as well.) That’s a LOT of times that I gave someone an identifier about myself in exchange for what is being offered. Most of the time, it’s been worth it, to get access to a valuable tool or service, but it’s good to consciously think about that balance. Look at who owns the app and search their name. Glance through the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. It never hurts to have more info about who we are doing business with.

Act Right

If you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on the internet. Would you corner a woman in a bar and show her your 🍆? No, because you’d be arrested or punched in the motherf*cking mouth. So don’t slide into the DM’s with a dick pic. Don’t create accounts just to rip people off with on sales sites. Trolling is not good fun unless everyone understands the humor, so stop. If you can’t back up an argument with truth, don’t make it. Own your opinions. Again, the internet works best when it works in good faith.

Be ahead of the game

Software updates and basic security steps should always be completed. These include: Updating the OS on your devices. Turn on notifications for updates, at the very least, so you can give yourself the opportunity to make the decision. Turn on two step verification, so that you are notified and have a last line of defense against losing an account to a hacker. Also, do backups of your information often, and for f*ck’s sake, turn on password protection on all of your devices. For the truly paranoid, always use a alpha numeric password, pattern, or PIN lock, never the facial or fingerprint recognition. Things like that are the difference between an inconvenience and losing everything you’ve ever worked for at the hands of some theiving asshole.

Facebook

The best way to do these steps is on the desktop version of FB, because it’s all much easier to read than on the mobile app.

First, click the down arrow next to the question mark in the blue menu bar, and choose Settings.

facebook settings menu

 

On the next screen, choose Apps from the sidebar.

The only way to truly be secure from apps grabbing your data, whether you authorize it or your friends to, is to turn off Apps, Websites, and Plugins. This means that all that stuff you use a FB login for? No more. Spotify, and some of the other big apps are making this process easy. Others, probably not. This is one of the times where that whole “good faith” thing comes in.

After that, click the Edit button in the Apps Others Use section to the right, back in the Apps section.

This section will let you choose what informations Apps can gank from your profile because Aunt Gertie decided to take a facebook quiz from godknowswhere.ru deciding which kind of dish towel best represents her life force or some sh*t. For max security, don’t check any of these.

If you want to go on complete lockdown without deleting your account, head to the Privacy link on the sidebar, and set up your activity to only be shown to you. Limit all your past posts to only you, as well. Turn on activity log, so that people can’t post to your wall without you looking at it first and approving. Set your friends list to be seen by only you, and set it so search engines can’t index your profile.

 

Only you can decide how much info Facebook and its many users (friend or foe) and advertising partners can have, but the smart bet is on “not much, if any at all.”

Twitter

For these last few, being in the App pretty much gives the same menus in a nicer fashion than their desktop versions, so we’re going to move to mobile.

Open the Twitter app, and click on the tiny icon in the top left corner. This opens the menu. Tap Settings and privacy.

In that menu, tap Privacy and Safety.

The only real way to make sure what you tweet isn’t publicly available is to protect them here. Deciding to have a public account carries a higher amount of risk than a private account, but is also limited in reach.

Next, scroll down slightly to the Discoverability and Contacts section and tap on it.

Turning off the discoverability settings will stop people from being able to find you by your email or phone number. This is also where you can choose or not to upload the entire contacts list of your phone, even though that sounds like hell on earth, tbh.

Go back to the Settings and Privacy menu. Scroll down and choose Personalization and data and tap on it. It will open up the following menu.

Turn off this entire page of options with one slider button at the top of the page. Ad tracking turns off, personalization based on browsing and other info that you’ve either provided, or they have been able to get through your movements through the rest of the internet. Your ads and featured content will be jarringly bad, but that’s the cost of turning off that “service.” (Or surveillance, whatevs.)

Instagram

Open the app and tap on the person icon at the lower left of the screen. That will shift to your profile page, where you can click on the gear icon.

Like Twitter, the only real way to be truly as locked down as possible on Instagram is to make your account private.

However, if you like being able to have full functionality of the App, there are a few changes we can make to make the experience better. For example, scroll down and tap on Comments.

Tami Dooley | The Tailgate Society

In these menus, you can choose who can and cannot comment on your photos, and also filter out the trash taeks.

Snapchat

Open Snapchat and click on the bitmoji or icon in the upper left.

This opens up your profile page. Tap on the gear icon in the top right corner.

First, we want to tap Manage under Additional Services.

Then tap on Ad Preferences.

Here there are two slider buttons that allow ads from Snapchat’s partner lists or your internet activity, or not. Disable these so that Snapchat can’t use that data.

Back at the Settings menu, scroll down to the Who Can… section, just under Additional Services.

Here, we want to make sure that only the people we want can see and contact us on Snapchat, or follow our locations. To keep Snapchat from tracking location whatsoever, turn off Location Services in your phone’s settings for the Snapchat app. It can’t be done from inside. Remember – this will take away location based filters as well.

Despite arguments to the contrary, we’re only as safe as we make ourselves most of the time, so be smart with settings and understanding what you are doing before you do it. Everyone f*cks up, but correcting things now means time, money, and frustration saved in the future. Tomorrow you, who did not have their accounts hacked, bank cards maxed out, or identity stolen, is going to think you’re pretty awesome for taking care of this stuff now. There is also balance to be found. The absolute safest thing is to go cut the internet cable into the house, smash your phone, move to a cabin hundreds of miles from nowhere, sell your possessions to pay for the weaponry and machinery, and do some off the grid homesteading. But that life isn’t for most people. Isolation can be fun for a while, but is damaging in the long term. Social media apps are used for just as much good as evil…just about like pretty much everything else humans have ever created.

Tami Dooley 111 Articles
Chief Shade Officer

Tami is a 5th generation Idahoan, who lives in Boise with her husband and their elderly, yet adorable, poodle named Cooper. She likes Boise State, the Seattle Seahawks, music that is fast and loud, and believes that all perfect breakfasts involve both potatoes and beer.

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