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Defend Your Data: Do some spring cleaning with your social media profiles

If you’re worried about the recent news about the personal information of 50 million people being mined from Facebook for political purposes, you may want to clean up your online profiles. To help you defend your data, Information Technology Services provides the following tips for all social media accounts.

  1. Delete your birthdate, phone number, address and Social Security number. Facebook allows you to hide your birth year from everyone but you.
  2. Remove the third-party apps that have access to your Facebook data. If you have ever selected the option to “log in with Facebook” instead of creating a new account or took a quiz, chances are that the company behind that app has your personal information.
  3. Adjust your Facebook privacy settings for things you post. Use Friend Lists to share with specific groups of people.
  4. Prevent your personal data from being shared when your friends play apps, games and visit websites using Facebook. In the Apps section of Settings, go to Apps Others Use and de-select all the checkboxes.
  5. Remove information that can be used to answer security questions like high school and graduation date, maiden names and your pet’s name. If your mom has her maiden name in her Facebook profile and you wish her happy birthday by tagging her in a post, you just shared the answer to one of your security passwords.
  6. Disable geotagging. Nothing says “Hey, rob my house” more than a check-in announcing you aren’t home. The same goes for posts about your upcoming vacation plans. Wait until you’re home to share photos of that trip to St. Lucia.
  7. Remove the names of your children from pictures and posts, gradually or all at once. Your friends already know their names.
  8. Create new habits to avoid oversharing in the future. It may be fun to remember the 10 favorite concerts you have attended or share 25 interesting facts about yourself, but that information can be used to answer your security questions, reset your passwords and access your accounts.

Learn more about managing your privacy and security settings for the things you share online at DefendYourData.wvu.edu.