Preventing Weinergate: Rules for Facebook and Twitter Security

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Facebook and Twitter have over half a billion users. If Weinergate has taught us anything, it’s that even top politicians don’t fully understand the privacy settings on social media sites. The truth is all users of social sites are vulnerable to having their private information leaked to outside sites, or their identity stolen by online predators who search for people who give out too much information on their pages. To help keep their customers informed and safe on the web, SimpliSafe home security has put together these 7 Golden Rules for Social Media Security.

According to social media statistics from Wikidot, 17% of adults who use social networking admit to communicating regularly with people they do not know. 41% of children who use Facebook have a profile that is open for anyone to see, whether they are “friends” or not. Get Safe Online reports that 25% of registered social networking users have sensitive information about themselves on their profiles. This includes addresses, places of work, and mobile phone numbers.

Thanks to an agreement Facebook has with websites such as Pandora and Yelp, those sites are granted access to any information anyone makes public on their page. Recently, Facebook has crossed privacy boundaries even further with its plans to use facial recognition software to scan pictures so they will be able to “tag” people automatically. Twitter’s constant stream of conversation can sometimes lead users to become immersed and fail to remember their conversations are getting indexed and housed in the forever memory of the internet.

Does this mean everyone should rush out and delete their Facebook and Twitter accounts?


However, it does mean that people should take a closer look at their privacy settings. Whenever Facebook or Twitter launches a new feature (such as the one that gives people’s information to third parties) they automatically add it to everyone’s pages. It is possible to opt-out of these features by going into the privacy settings and following the instructions on that page.

Here are some tips for staying safe on social media sites:

– Set up Google news alerts for “facebook new application” or just “facebook releases” and do the same for Twitter. That makes it possible to stay on top of the latest applications and change privacy settings accordingly.

– Create groups of friends on Facebook, and only allow trustworthy friends to see sensitive information.

– Check GPS settings. Some mobile Twitter clients post people’s geographic location information with their tweets. Also, the camera software may be attaching the location information to people’s pictures, so when posted online, it shows where the picture had been taken.

– Remove all phone numbers. Facebook’s mobile app will automatically add numbers to everyone’s “friends” phonebooks.

– When posting a picture, double check all elements in the image so it doesn’t accidentally show something people would consider private, like family members or a special location (something Representative Weiner probably should have done).

– People need to be more selective of who their “friends” are. No one should post anything on their page that they don’t want all of their “friends” to see.

– Make a Twitter timeline private, so only approved people can read tweets.

About SimpliSafe
SimpliSafe Inc. is a leading provider of wireless security systems and apartment alarms. Its alarm systems are packed with cutting-edge technology, smart software, and are incredibly easy to use. SimpliSafe was created as a counterpoint to traditional security companies, many of which thrive by selling outdated technology at highway-robbery prices. For more information visit