Even if you think that you have your Facebook privacy settings locked down, it’s still pretty difficult to control where your posts and photos end up.
You don’t have much control over what your friends do with your posts, and with just a few likes, a post can be seen by hundreds of people that you don’t know.
That means that it’s way too easy for posts to turn up when university admissions officers, potential employers, or prospective business partners search for you on the social network. So there are a few things that you should avoid posting about on Facebook, just to stay on the safe side.
Your Personal Information – birth year, address, mothers name
If you think that sharing your full date of birth on Facebook cannot pose a problem for you, you’re wrong. Surprisingly, many people use their date of birth (even if not in the right order) as their password of one or more account. When you share your date of birth online, you are giving out information that may prove useful for hackers.
Your home address, or telephone number, or mother’s maiden name – or anything else that could be used to put your personal or financial security at risk. Sophisticated criminals need very little to steal a person’s identity and many trawl Facebook because that kind of information is so readily available. Do yourself a favor and don’t post any personal information other than your name and birth date without the year.
Information about your location
We are stating the obvious but sometimes it needs to be done. You may not be aware of it, but someone may just be stalking you. By giving away your location on social media, you are telling them your whereabouts literally at the click of a button.
Details of your vacation
It’s also never a good idea to intentionally announce to the world when you’re planning to be out of town and leaving your house vacant. Criminals are increasingly watching social networks to figure out when they can target potential victims. Most people would prefer not to return home from that skiing trip or tropical cruise to find out that they’ve been robbed. In the same vein, it’s a bad idea to post just to brag about material possessions; while it’s always great to see friends achieve their goals, you could be painting a target on that brand-new car or TV.
Strong political or religious opinions
Nobody’s saying you can’t have them, it’s just that very few people want to read them on Facebook. Plus, one-paragraph opinions on a social network can easily be taken out of context or misinterpreted. Why risk alienating friends or being labeled as insensitive or intolerant? Facebook activity should be kept friendly and light. Don’t post politically charged comments and don’t respond to other people who do.
Embarrassing photos of you or others
It may seem like a good prank to post embarrassing pictures of other people on Facebook, but what might start out as a bit of fun can quickly go wrong. Everyone’s Facebook motto should be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you wouldn’t want those pictures of you circulating on the Internet, then be a good friend and share them privately or not at all.
Whether you are single and in college or happily married with three kids, you might want to tone it down on the drinking photos. While the odd picture of you and your golfing buddies enjoying a beer might be OK, a constant stream of photos showing you with a drink in your hand might lead people to think that, well, you constantly have a drink in your hand! And be especially careful if you are in college. Everyone knows about the weekend keggers but dozens of pictures of you with your boozy pals sends a poor message to everyone, including Mom and Dad.
Other people’s news
Whether it’s your best friend’s engagement, a cousin’s pregnancy, or your little brother’s acceptance to the college of his dreams, don’t be the first to announce other people’s big news on Facebook. At best, you’ll create an awkward situation and take control of someone else’s timeline. And at worst, you’ll be sharing news that your friend or family member had a legitimate reason for keeping offline. Be considerate and check whether the person in question has posted anything before blabbing to your network.
Too much information
Whatever you post, keep it appropriate and don’t include details that you don’t want the whole world to know. If you would only tell a handful of close friends about the details of your annual check-up or what you found in your 15-year-old son’s room the other day, then it has no business on Facebook. When it comes to posting online, the less information the better.
Photos of your kids or your friends’ kids
Many kids grow up with an Instagram hashtag or dozens of Facebook photo albums documenting their accomplishments. But overzealous parents don’t consider how private or public those photos will really be. As with other photos you post on Facebook, you should assume that just about everything is public. Get permission from a child’s parents before posting a photo. If you have to post a photo, avoid adding geographical information, hinting at where a child goes to school, or using his or her real or full name.
Complaints about your job
If there is anything guaranteed to quickly put you among the ranks of the unemployed, it’s going on Facebook to complain about your job. Complaining about your job in this economic environment will be seen as ungrateful and disloyal, and it will not win you many friends inside or outside the office.