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Social media companies have promised to improve their security to make sure user information isn’t stolen, but as a user, you should also take some steps to make your profiles more private.

Here are a few things you can to do on your social media accounts to make sure your information isn’t easy for strangers to access.

1. Review and change your privacy settings

You should regularly review your privacy settings as social networks often change their settings when there are updates and privacy isn’t always the default setting when this happens.

When it comes to Facebook, it’s best to make sure that most of your information isn’t shared publicly, only with friends. Location tracking and whether strangers can direct message you are some of the features you can control on Twitter. And on Instagram, you may want to manage who can follow you or comment on your posts, and review whether your posts will show up in a Google search or when searching for a hashtag you may have used. 

Be wary of sharing your location on Twitter

2. Don’t share certain information

There is some information you shouldn’t make available to anyone viewing your social media profiles, even friends. This includes your home address, email address and phone number. You should also never post anything that includes private identifying information, such as your ID number. If any of this information is visible on your profiles, you should delete it or set it to private.

3. Revoke permissions for unused apps

While there are apps that you might use every day with your social media profiles, you’ll also have many unused ones that continue to have access to your account. This is especially true for Twitter and Facebook. Many apps and sites allow you to use your profiles to create an account. Often, this is totally fine, but some apps have used this access to gather information about users and sell it to third parties. You may have heard of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, for example, where data was gathered via a personality quiz. Every now and then you should go over these permissions and remove access for apps you don’t use anymore. 

Regularly check which apps have access to your Facebook account

You can find out how to implement the above steps (and find more security information) on each social media network’s help page. Click here for Facebook’s Help Centre, here for Twitter’s Help Centre, and here for Instagram’s Help Centre.

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