Search Engines, Social Media Giants Offer Tools to Protect Your Privacy

Search engines and social media giants, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn, offer tools to protect your privacy.

from – – by Mark Pribish

If you don’t care about your personal information being taken, used and abused, then disregard my guidance on privacy settings.

Search engines and social media giants including Google, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn enable you to protect yourself even as you and they share with the world various facets of your life. They provide tools that can help keep you safe and keep your information private and secure.

First, take control of your privacy by understanding the privacy controls and the amount of information that you share ā€“ whether it’s the content you create, the browser data that you share or your geographic location.

Here is some guidance on some of the most popular social media sites and the means to adjust privacy settings.

Google Chrome has an “incognito mode” where pages you open and files you download are not recorded in Chrome’s browsing or download history. Google talk, the chat feature in Gmail and other Google products allows you to “take chats off the record.” This and other account settings can be changed on your Google account settings page where you can see services and information associated with your Google account and change your security and privacy settings.

LinkedIn’s privacy-control settings can be found at the top right corner of your LinkedIn page. Take your cursor to your name/photo and select “privacy and settings” in the drop-down box. Your privacy controls allow you to turn on or off your activity broadcasts, select who can see your activity feed, select what others see when you have viewed their profile, manage your “blocking,” and select who can see your LinkedIn connections.

Facebook and their privacy settings have been in the news frequently and as a result, Facebook is trying to make setting privacy more simple. Similar to LinkedIn, Facebook users can click the down arrow button in the upper-right corner of Facebook and select “privacy settings.”

Facebook encourages you to review your account settings so that you can confirm your subscribe setting, change your post settings, change your privacy settings on how to connect, how tags work, along with how apps work, and how to block people.

The next consideration in your framing up your privacy settings is the use of apps and smartphones. While every individual consumer who uses search engines and social media should understand how their information is used and shared, the same goes for the use of a smartphone and apps.

A Pew research study published in January stated that nearly 60 percent of American adults have a smartphone. In a 2013 Nielsen survey, 70 percent of teenagers were using a smartphone. A 2013 HP study reported that “many apps have access to data or permission to perform functions they shouldn’t.”

Why is this important to know whether you’re a teen or a parent? Because smartphone users on average install 26 apps, and most of them come with “privacy or security concerns.” Users

need to understand and read the terms and conditions and privacy settings of each app that they use along with the smartphone they use. Of course this can all be ignored ā€” to the joy and delight of ID-theft criminals.

Mark’s most important:Ā Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to privacy settings and social media sites. Be more vigilant and hands-on with your personal-privacy settings and be aware that most apps lack basic security defenses and create some sort of a privacy issue.

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