Is privacy possible in a social media world?

Is privacy possible in a social media world?

Social media has become a part of our everyday routine: wakeup, check your notifications, shoot a friend a message.

But next time you log on to Facebook, you might want to check out something else -- your privacy settings.

Even if you think you have limited your audience, there's a possibility someone you don't know could be seeing what you post.

"It could be made available more broadly than what you intended," said Kim Spotts-Kimmel, an attorney who specializes in Internet law privacy.

Spotts-Kimmel said Facebook's privacy settings give users options, allowing users to designate a specific audience for specific posts.

"You can set how your information is shared. Do you want it on a public setting, denoted with a globe, or do you just want it shared with friends?  You can customize, you can block certain friends.  You can also select only viewable by self," Spotts-Kimmel said.

But you can't control your friends, and that's the downfall. 

"If I share content with my friends, if my friends have their settings set to public, it's very possible that information, if they share it with their network, could be accessible to others," Spotts-Kimmel said.

She said that applies to posts or pictures you're tagged in. It also includes comments you leave on other pages.

Spotts-Kimmel encourages Facebook users to consider limiting who can tag you in a photo or post. 

"You can also select options to get notification before people post to your timeline," Spotts-Kimmel said.

But it's not just what you post that you need to keep a close eye on. If geo-tracking is enabled on your smart phone or Facebook account, your post could also be an open invitation for trouble.

"It would come up where I live, the city and state,"  Spotts-Kimmel said.

Spotts-Kimmel said users also need to be careful when using Facebook applications. 

"Be careful what applications you are using and websites you are visiting through Facebook. With a lot of sites, you can go on the site and create an account on that site, using a Facebook account. You want to be very aware that when you do that, Facebook will share that basic profile information," Spotts-Kimmel said.

She said you may also unknowingly share other information.

"Understand what terms and conditions and privacy polices you are subjecting yourself to when you do that because you might agree, by signing up for some application, to a broader use of not only your basic information but the content you post, the photos you post," Spotts-Kimmel said.

She said that also may include your Facebook friends list.  

"There is a way to limit information, applications your friends are using, those applications' ability to access your information through your friends list," Spotts-Kimmel said.

Spotts-Kimmel encourages users to review application settings and recommends deleting applications not being used.

"Until you delete them, that company associated with that application will continue to use your basic profile information, content, photos," Spotts-Kimmel said.

Users can see how applications are using their information by visiting "applications" under the settings tab.

According to Spotts-Kimmel, your basic information, like  username and cover photo, are accessible on a public domain.

"If your goal is to completely remain anonymous, then perhaps you need to think if Facebook is the right platform for you," Spotts-Kimmel said.

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