Lent is finally over and the Catholics are back on Facebook.

Giving up Facebook for Lent has become the standard Lenten penance for Catholics (and I bet the Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists too). Whatever happened to desserts and alcohol?

How can I tell the Catholics are back? I got a slew of comments on my March posts on Easter. The one that got the most attention was my post on erasing your personal information online (“Do You Have a Right To Be Forgotten).

Well based on the comments I received, none of you are willing to delete your social media accounts in order to protect your personal information.

I get it. Me neither. Almost all of my readers found the blog through my Facebook page. As a stay at home mom / mom who works from home, I don’t get a whole lot of personal interaction with other adults. Facebook at least partially fills that void.

Wow, that sounded pathetic. I am risking my privacy for the sake of interaction with “friends” on Facebook. But it’s the truth.

Facebook has been in the news the last couple of weeks. In case you missed it, here’s the 30 second version of the story.

Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm hired by President Trump’s 2016 election campaign, gained access to private information on more than 87 million Facebook users (one out of four of every Facebook user in the U.S.).

Approximately a 250,000 of those users took one of those silly personality quizzes on Facebook and consented to the access to the data. The remaining 87,750,000 users? “Friends of friends” of the users who took the personality tests. And I am sure you can guess the punch line–no, they did not consent to the release of their private information.

Shocking, right?

So we can all agree that we can’t trust the social media companies to keep our private information private.

Here are some steps you can take to better protect your privacy:

  1. Get in the habit of routinely checking your privacy settings. Start today–Facebook just updated theirs.
  1. Use strong passwords, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
  1. Don’t use social media on public devices, and if you must, make sure to log out afterward.
  1. Disable access to geolocation data for your social media apps.
  1. Be wary about clicking links from friends in social media; you never know if they’ve been hacked.
  1. Use two-factor authentication or password-reset checks for all your accounts.
  1. Even on your private social profiles, keep personal information to a minimum.

Why do you use social media? Do you worry about privacy? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

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Copyright © 2018 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.

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