Photos of your young children in the tub, photos of your latest big game hunt, images of wild parties, your airline boarding pass, and embarrassing images of friends are just a few of the things that shouldn’t be posted to Facebook.
Add to that your birthdate, home address, and vacationplans– all things that nobody needs to know unless they have nefarious reasons.
Some of these are obviously social media faux pas but others may not be so clear. Perhaps you didn’t know that privacy settings may allow an unscrupulous person to zoom in on your airline boarding passand lift enough information from it to alter the price of your ticket, to get your personal information, and perhaps to lift credit card data from it.
Similarly, unless you turn off the geotag function, Facebook will add your location to your posts, whether you’re at home, on vacation, or surfing the web while at the office. Take a look at your own profile too, because apps may be posting to Facebookon your behalf without your explicit knowledge.
It Can Get You Fired
If there’s a chance your boss or coworkers will see the post (and that includes friends of friends) beware of the image that your profile will portray. Complaining about your job is a no-go, and posting lots of photos of partying will raise eyebrows unless you are in the marketing department of a major record label. But there’s more too, including the psychological profile that will emergefrom the sorts of things you post (narcissists post more photos of themselves, insecure people gather as many “friends” as possible in a bid for acceptance).
Keep in mind that many jobs (including public safety positions) require some screening of your social media posts as part of the application process. Severe political or racist posts that you may think are funny could also get you canned – be sure to read the fine print about the company’s policies – they may decide you don’t fit the “culture” anymore.
Stop and Think
If you want to keep your friends, be sure to ask if it’s okayto post photos of them before doing so. Some people want to fly below the radar and seek privacy rather than broadcasting to everyone where they were and what they did. After all, you don’t want to be the one who “outed” someone who called in sick that day, who is concerned about being seen at political rallies, or whose probation requires him to stay out of bars.
Along with images of adults partying, keep in mind that posting photos of children is best done with care and foresight. Think first if that photo needs to be shared, because we are all being tracked and cataloged by facial recognition software, and today’s child will have quite a dossier by adulthood, removing the expectation of privacy.
Plus, if you start sharing each of your child’s milestones with a wide audience it skews his understanding of what’s appropriate when he’s old enough to do it himself. And unfortunately, there are people who will steal and manipulate photos of your children. Consider too that if you have filled out your profile informationaccurately, anyone can zero in on where you live and may use that information to make contact with your child at a bus stop or playground.
Others Are Watching
Your friends may find it entertaining when you post photos of yourself and your collection of semi-automatic weapons, Hitler memorabilia, or in blackface, but keep in mind that photos like that are also seen by the policeand other interested parties. In fact, those who investigate a variety of crimes frequently scour Facebook and other social media sites to compile profiles of likely criminals and their associates.
A survey of police departments revealed that 80 percent of them review social media postsfrequently for criminals and crime-related evidence. Posting photos of stolen goods tricked out cars, and even tattoos make it easy for them to identify and locate suspects and to flesh out information about gang activity and other crimes. And, authorities are increasingly asking Facebook users to help them identify suspects caught by security cameras. Judges aren’t buying the excuse that individuals have a right to privacy if they’ve posted photos and descriptions of their misdeeds online, either.