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What a like can reveal about you

18 January 2018

Not only does liking a business or video help social media platforms tailor advertising and decide what comes up in your feed, but liking something may reveal a lot about you to people you may not want to share yourself with.

A café in the UK decided that instead of a cookie with your coffee, they would help their customers with social media privacy.

The café encouraged customers to like their business page and receive a free coffee. When customers were handed their cup, written on it was various personal information about them, such as their job, family, age and dog’s name. Now that would wake you up faster than a double shot!

You can watch the customers’ reactions in the ‘Data to go’ video, produced by BT, a British broadband provider.

It is important to note that if these customers had private accounts, the café would not have been able to see their information.

Don’t give away your personal information

Your personal information is highly valuable to cyber criminals and protecting it needs to be your number one priority. Identity fraudsters can use your social media profiles to cleanout your bank account and run off with your identity, while other criminals might sell it to the highest bidder.

Following a few rules and learning about how your social media platform uses and displays your information can help dramatically reduce risk.

Staying safe

  • Carefully read and understand a social platform’s terms and conditions, privacy policy and security settings. Make sure you’re only sharing your information with the people you want to share it with.
  • Protect your social media accounts with strong unique passwords.
  • Don't use social networking sites if they don’t offer privacy settings or they allow users to contact each other anonymously.
  • Think before you post. Once information is online it’s almost impossible to remove. If unsure, ask yourself ‘Would I be OK if this image or information was on the news or seen by my employer?’
  • Don’t accept requests from people you don’t know or thought you were already connected with. Fake profiles are on the rise and are often used to collect information.
  • Be particularly careful with information you share that could compromise the security of you and others, including:
    • birth dates and addresses
    • information about your daily routine
    • holiday plans
    • your children's schools
    • photos of you or your family and friends—and always ask permission before posting a picture of someone else. Learn how to protect your privacy and personal information online.
  • If you use applications or sign up for games inside the website, remember to read the individual privacy policy. Some online games state in their privacy policies that they can use your and your friends' information in whatever way they like if linked to your social media accounts.
  • Always monitor children's use of these platforms and help them make safe decisions when socialising online.

More information

If you think you have been the victim of identity theft, act quickly to avoid further damage. For free advice, call 1300 IDCARE (1300 432 273) or visit the IDCARE website, where you can run a free cyber first aid kit to help you work out what to do.

More information is also available on our socialising safely online page.