Information You Should Never Share Online (But Probably Have)
We use social media to connect with friends and share ideas with people all over the world. Even so, there is a need for some caution. There are daily examples of situations where social media posts have landed people in hot water.
Sharing too much information online can put a person's safety at risk and cause them to lose money and jobs. Here are the worst bits of personal information to share on social media.
Everyone likes to brag a little on social media. That's why it can be very tempting to post tickets when you're going to a big game, concert or some other event. Nonetheless, this is a big social media no-no.
Getting your first credit card, or an especially prestigious credit card, can be a huge achievement. That's why so many people want to share their joy with the world by posting pictures of their credit cards on social media. Unfortunately, any scam artist can use those pictures to start making purchases in your name.
Kids (Especially if They Aren't Yours)
Kids are cute, and people want to share every little adorable thing they do, but social media is not the best place to do that. Unfortunately, there are people in this world who want to harm children, and information and pictures posted on social media make it easier for them to target specific children.
Although there are privacy settings, social media is not very private at all. Police departments and government agencies can subpoena social media developers for anyone's posts and pictures, even ones that have been deleted. It’s also extremely easy for hackers to hack into social media accounts.
Venting About Your Employer
People have been fired for complaining about their jobs on social media. We live in a very small world, and social media makes it even smaller. That boss you can't stand could be the social media savvy grandmother of your college roommates' best friend. Even if you're not friends with your co-workers, they could still see your posts.
Social media may feel like a personal thing between you and your closest friends and family, but every time you make social media posts, you are posting content to the Internet. This means what you say is extremely important.
That Silly Declaration
One thing that can make people think less of you is sharing bogus posts on Facebook. For instance, one popular post claims that by sharing it, you are making it impossible for Facebook to share your pictures without your consent. Similar posts claim other legal benefits as long as you share a particular post.
Your Phone Number
Most people lose their phones at least a couple times in life and end up needing to get all of their friends’ contact information again. One common workaround is to post your phone number on social media and have people text you their info, but just because a lot of people do it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Google Images makes it easy to find pictures, but most of the results in a Google search are owned by photographers or agencies. When you post something on social media, you are legally publishing content on the Internet, and that can cause problems if it’s not yours.
It’s best to refrain from posting about other people's private moments on social media. Funerals are an extremely emotional time, so the urge to post can be extremely strong, but that’s also what makes photos taken then potentially contentious.
Big News (That's Not Yours)
Pregnancies, engagements and adoptions are all huge milestones in life. When friends and family hit these milestones, people often want to share their joy with the world by posting on social media. However, it’s best to allow these people the time to share their big news themselves before you post it.
Fundraisers (That Aren't Legitimate)
Scam artists take advantage of every avenue they can. When you share a fundraiser, whether it be a GoFundMe page or anything else, you could inadvertently involve your friends in a nefarious scheme.
One of the main benefits of social media is the opportunity to chronicle your life through posts and pictures. Because of that, it can be tempting to post images of legal documents that may represent years of hard work, patience or love, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Threats to Public Safety
It goes without saying that you shouldn't make threats, but what about re-posting a threat that has been made by someone else? When schools are threatened by anonymous social media users, concerned parents, students and teachers sometimes share the posts with the good intention of warning others.
Politics and Social Controversies
There are people with strong opinions on both sides of every issue. Most have very personal reasons for their feelings on hot button socio-political topics. However, if you go on rants about controversial issues, you can alienate yourself from some of your friends.
Slurs and Mean-Spirited Jokes
There is no place for slurs of any kind on social media. In some jurisdictions, the use of slurs on social media, especially when directed towards a specific person, could constitute a hate crime. Off-color jokes that do not include outright slurs can still be considered extremely offensive.
Parties where dozens of unexpected guests show up have been the plot of plenty of sitcom episodes. It's not nearly as funny when it happens in real life. Sharing party invitations on social media is not a great idea. People can share your invitation, and you may end up with rowdy uninvited guests.
In today’s world, there’s so much pop culture that no one can possibly know it all. That’s great when it comes to looking for entertainment, but the downside of this is that not everyone is on the same page when it comes to music and television shows.
Urban Myths and Shady News Stories
You may come across a scary news story and want to share it. Not only could the story in question be relevant to your friends and loved ones, but there’s also something morbidly captivating about the potential for disaster all around us. This is why stories about men taking pictures of children in IKEA or saleswomen knocking people out by forcing them to sniff perfume samples are so popular on social media.
Whether you win $1 million or $100, excitement over winning the lottery could drive you to post your winning numbers on social media. However, it’s risky business to do so, especially if you haven’t already claimed your winnings.
Social media is one of the few places where bragging has become somewhat socially acceptable, but there are still some things that are just in bad taste. Posting stacks on stacks of money is a bad idea, and not just for the jealousy it may inspire.
If you're an artist, writer or any other type of person who makes creative content, be careful about the work you post online. Make sure your work is watermarked or copyrighted. Otherwise, other people and even businesses could copy your work and present it as their own.
Photos of Others
Private social media posts can go viral and change lives, and not just yours. Many people record or take pictures of strangers and post the content online. Most of the time, nothing bad happens, but this a very risky thing to do.
People who work in the medical industry should be extra careful when discussing work online. HIPAA is a federal law that, among other things, protects patients' privacy. Clearly, you don't want to say a patient's name online, but there is more to consider.
Buying a new car or a new phone is very exciting, but it's a good idea to break the habit of making posts about these things. Publicly announcing that you have big-ticket items in your possession can make you a target for thieves.
Regardless of the security settings you have, social media simply is not very private. It is a scary fact that celebrities are not the only people who get stalkers. By default, many social media platforms will include your location, which can be as broad as a city or as exact as a store, with all of your posts.
People have a habit of posting pictures in front of their home on social media. This innocent act reveals your address to strangers. After discovering your house number from the picture, a person can easily find your street address using public records.
Everyone on social media wants the rest of the world to know that they are busy, but there's a hidden danger to posting pictures of your work desk. Most people see a picture of your desk and keep on scrolling, but there are some people who may study that picture to troll for information.
Secrets From Your Past
To protect your privacy, many financial institutions require online users to answer security questions, such as your mother's maiden name, the name of your first pet, or the name of your elementary school.
Posting your boarding pass online can open you up to a world of pain. Each boarding pass has a unique barcode that helps the airport connect you to your online account. Someone who knows how to scan the barcode, which can be done with images posted on social media, can access your online account with the airline.