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Safer Internet Day 2019 – Social Media Privacy

5 February 2019

It’s Safer Internet Day on 5 February and to help spread the word we’re sharing a cautionary tale about the importance of reviewing your social media privacy settings.

The tale of Little Chicken’s encounter with Mrs Fox

Since moving out of the Hen House and heading off to Farmland, social media has become the easiest way for Little Chicken* to stay in touch with his family and friends back home.

Little Chicken has his Facebook profile set to public so anyone can see what he posts - he doesn't think a few photos is anything to worry about!

It was Little Chicken’s birthday and he couldn’t wait to share a happy snap and thank his friends and family for their birthday wishes.

Little chicken with cupcake and baloon

Sadly Little Chicken didn’t realise just how much personal information he was giving away; his post revealed his full name, birth date (including the year) and address.

Over the hill at the den, Mrs Fox was sitting at her computer waiting patiently to steal an unsuspecting chicken’s personal details. Mrs Fox spotted Little Chicken’s birthday post and made quick work of it, ordering a new credit card in Little Chicken’s name – ready for a shopping spree!

 Mrs Fox looking at LittleChicken on screen Mrs Fox with shopping bags        

Poor Little Chicken had no idea what Mrs Fox had done until a month later, when Little Chicken arrived home to find a bill in the mailbox. It was a credit card statement with all of Mrs Fox’s purchases including a big stewing pot, herbs and spices and a BBQ.

Little Chicken reading letter

Little Chicken called the bank, talked to his friends and did some research online. He found out that Mrs Fox had stolen his identity and opened a credit card in his name.

Unfortunately, Little Chicken found out about cybercrime the hard way and realised he had shared too much information on Facebook.

There are lots of Mrs Foxes in the world waiting to pounce on personal information they can use to make money. So, to protect his profile from further prying eyes, Little Chicken completed a privacy check-up on Facebook.

Now that Little Chicken has locked down his profile, only his friends and family can see his profile and posts.

Little chicken wearing armour and holding sword

*Please note all names and identifying details have been changed to protect identity of individuals involved.

Do your own privacy check-up today!

Review your social media privacy settings so you don’t end up with egg on your face like Little Chicken. You can use the Facebook Privacy Check-up tool to make sure that you're only sharing your posts and information with who you want.

To get started:

  1. Open your Facebook app and click on the 'Menu' button (the button with three horizontal lines).
    • If you’re an Android user, this button is usually located in the top right corner.
    • If you’re an iPhone user, this button is usually in the bottom right corner.
  2. Click the 'Settings & Privacy' heading (next to the picture of a cog), to display more options. Select 'Privacy shortcuts'.
  3. This section has tools to help you control your privacy and security on Facebook. One of the options will be 'Review a few important privacy settings'. Clicking this takes you to the Privacy Check-up. Click 'Next' to begin.
    1. The first thing you will review is who can see your posts. The drop-down box will allow you to choose to share you posts with the public (anyone on or off Facebook), friends (anyone you have added as a friend on Facebook), "only me" or a custom list of friends. Be careful with your selection because all future posts will follow this guideline unless you change your settings again.
    2. The second screen will show you information you’ve added to your profile and asks you to decide who you’d like to share it with. The screen will show you information from your profile like your phone number, email address, age, birthday, where you live and where you work. You can choose from the same range of audience options for each piece of information. For example, I might want to let my ‘friends’ see my birth date, but set my birth year to 'only me'. You can also go to the 'About' section of your profile to delete any information you no longer want to share.
    3. Finally, the last step in Facebook’s privacy check-up tool shows you apps and websites that you've used Facebook to log into. You can edit who sees the apps and websites you use. For example, 'friends' or 'only me'. You can also delete any apps by ticking the ‘O’ along the right-hand side and then clicking ‘Remove’ at the bottom of the screen.

      If you click to remove an app from your account, you'll also be asked if you'd like to delete all posts, photos and videos on Facebook that the app might have published on your behalf.
  4. Once you click 'Done', your Privacy Check-up is complete.

More information

If you are concerned that your personal information has been compromised and misused, you can contact Australia's National Identity and Cyber Support Service, IDCare or use their free Cyber First Aid Kit.

You can also sign up to Stay Smart Online’s free alert service and we will send you information on the latest online threats and tips on how you can manage them.

Read more on socialising online and online scams – including steps you can take if you think you've been scammed and how you can protect yourself from these threats online.