Social Media Safety 101



In today's highly connected online world, the use of social media is practically inevitable.  However, using social media comes with multiple risks including, unintentional exposure of private information, compromised personal security, and even negative consequences to employment.  This course will provide you with three basic rules for safely using social media so that you can avoid these pitfalls.

As you learn safer ways to use social media, you will also help our friend Tim Everyman make better choices in how he uses his social media accounts as well.

Let's get started!

Meet Tim Everyman

Tim Everyman applied for the job of Director of Information Security at Acme Corporation and has made it to the final hiring stages.

Background Check

During the pre-employment background check, a simple search of Tim's name located his Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

Tim's Facebook account lists his Alma maters, previous employers, and reveals he is a father of two boys. His Instagram shows that Tim enjoys fishing, but also has a photo of Tim with one of the managers at Acme with the caption "my brother-in-law."

Tim has not listed his brother-in-law on his application when asked if he had any family members who were existing Acme employees. This lack of disclosure indicates a potential conflict of interest and is justifiably viewed negatively by the hiring manager.

Rule #1 Choosing the Right Name

Avoid using your full name as your user name on social media accounts. While you want to be easily accessible to friends and family, using your full name also exposes your account to identity thieves, scammers, and employers.

Better options

Abbreviated names or names unrelated to your full name are a better option for social media user names. They allow for more privacy and creativity. For example, instead of naming a Pintrest account SueSmithsIdeas it could be named Sue'spiration.

Select the best option for the name of Tim's Instagram account?

  • TimEverymansPics
  • PicsByTim

Rule #2 Mask Sensitive Information

Blur or crop photos that have personal information such as your house number or car’s license plate. Don’t take photos in workplace areas that expose confidential information on computer screens, documents, or billboards.

Tim posted the picture below to his Instagram with the caption "Hitting the highways for the week in this classic car!" Click on the area in the photo that displays sensitive information he should mask.

Rule #3 Avoid Posting Your Location

Location information can be used by burglars to track when you are away from home or by others who could endanger the safety of you or your family. Consider waiting until you’re leaving a location or have left a location to update your social media.

Check your device 

Check the location settings and your phone or tablet’s as often these settings are turned on automatically but you can turn them off for added security.

Tim uses his phone's GPS locator and the 'check in' feature on Facebook to share that he is at a two-day music festival in another state for the weekend. Select the better option of sharing his attendance at this event.

  • Wait until the end of the event to use his location tag to indicate he was there.
  • Wait until he is back at home to post that he attended the music festival.
  • Change the post to read "Excited to get away from my crazy kids for the weekend."
Choose all that apply. 


You've just mastered three rules for safely using social media!