Last week a Facebook milestone confirmed what most people probably already suspected – that social networking is here to stay. In a status update posted by Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook announced that there are now over one billion people actively using the popular social network every month. This number represents how popular Facebook is and how much people use it to connect online.
This one billion mark means that there are more people to connect with than ever before, and therefore more reasons to have the most secure privacy settings possible. It also is a key indicator that, as much as possible, people should conduct their interactions online with people who they actually know offline and in the real world. More users also means more risks to online reputation because anything posted online can spread faster and much more easily when more and more people are connected, either directly or indirectly.
When it comes to managing online reputation and maintaining safety and privacy online, there are a few key takeaways that all users of social networks, not just Facebook, should keep in mind. First, stay as informed and up-to-date as possible on any updates to privacy settings – and make sure to employ the most secure settings available. An example of this is to only allow friends to see photos that you post.
A second takeaway applies to networks like Instagram and Twitter where there is not a mutually accepting friendship feature but rather a one-way option to follow other users. For these networks, opt in for the ability to approve anyone who chooses to follow you.
A third takeaway is to frequently change your various online passwords and include as little personally identifying information as possible within your profiles. The details you post about yourself can unwittingly provide hints to people trying to hack into any online accounts you have. Changing passwords every so often – and never using the same password for every account you have – can help improve online safety and security, and protect you from the billions of other people online and on social networks.