Social media: what to pay attention to!

All of the following apply to you, any children you may have, or anyone your abuser knows could know about where you might be.


(1) Security settings: Ensure every single online account has the highest security settings. Make sure you understand the default privacy settings offered by social networking sites, and how to change them. Consider using separate accounts/identities, or maybe different pseudonyms, for different campaigns and activities. Access social networking sites using https:// to safeguard your username, password and other information you post. Using https:// rather than http:// adds another layer of security by encrypting the traffic from your browser to your social networking site.

(2) Googling: No matter how basic the technical skills your abuser possesses - there is a chance they will Google you. See what you can find out about yourself using this method and then take steps to hide sensitive details or fool your abuser into thinking you are somewhere else.

(3) Past internet presence: In order to make sure your internet activity or details cannot be traced or linked to your current online presence, search your past usernames, email addresses, previous social networks (myspace, hi5, orkut), using Google, Pipl and Spokeo.

(4) Using fake details: Consider changing your name to a pseudonym on any social media accounts you have, this will make finding you more difficult. Use fake details where you can; including a fake name, location and birthdate. For advice on how to get around Facebook’s real name policy see References.

(5) See where you are checking-in or getting your picture taken: Don’t take pictures and post them publicly or where a common contact may see them if the picture has any identifiable information. On the other hand, you can also use this to fool your abuser. Tag a picture in a city far away to throw them off. Photos taken with phones and other devices usually have geotagging which means information about the location they were taken are saved.

(6) Stalking: They won’t just be stalking you. They’ll stalk everyone you’re close to or who might know your location. Be vigilant against this and explain the importance of being discreet to your friends and relatives.

(7) Auto-ping of location: most social networking applications use and store the location of the devices used to sign in. Disable location tracking on every online account.

(8) Who you are connected with: What information about you are your contacts passing on to other people, unwittingly or otherwise? Can you trust everyone you are connected to?

(9) Passwords: Always make sure you use secure passwords to access social networks. If anyone else does get into your account, they are gaining access to a lot of information about you and about anyone else you are connected to via that social network. Change your passwords regularly as a matter of routine. See References.

(10) Logging on to public computers or shared computers: Be careful when accessing your social network account in public spaces. Delete your password and browsing history when using a browser on a public machine.

(11) Integration of social media accounts: Be careful about putting too much information into your status updates – even if you trust the people in your networks. It is easy for someone to copy your information. Most social networks allow you to integrate information with other social networks. For example, you can post an update on your Twitter account and have it automatically posted to your Facebook account as well. Be particularly careful when integrating your social network accounts! You may be anonymous on one site, but exposed when using another. The same applies for your friends. Your friend’s Facebook page might not be accessible to your stalker\/abuser but if it posts to their Twitter as well (and it is not a protected account), the status will be public.

(12) Beware of social engineering and phishing schemes. Find out how to protect yourself in the References section.

(13) Apps require access to your account and or other data stored on your phone - Be aware of what they are accessing and how.

(14) Use Two-Factor Authentication and strong passwords (see References)

(15) Imposter Accounts: Your stalker\/abuser may create an imposter account in your name on a social media network and start adding your friends. Your friends may innocently add this imposter back thinking you’ve just created another account. Every now and then do a search for your name on the social media networks where you’re active to check and make sure your ‘real’ account is the only one.

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