Date posted: 9/04/2018 5 min read

Online privacy: know what you don't know

With social media increasingly being used for business purposes, it’s important to stay on top of your privacy settings to protect your online presence.

In brief

  • Around 75% of CA ANZ members regularly use Facebook
  • Social media users are cautious about their privacy online after the Cambridge Analytica - Facebook data breach scandal
  • Members can control how much information they share with other social media users in a few simple steps

Social media building blocks

Social media is a communication channel that is fast becoming vital for any successful business. This is particularly relevant to Facebook. Around 75% of Chartered Accountants ANZ members regularly use the social media platform, so it’s important to consider how you control your online presence.

You might think ‘but I don’t use Facebook for business’. Yet if you are signed up to the platform, chances are other businesses will already be leveraging off your online presence. This doesn’t have to be scary though. As long as you have the correct privacy settings on your accounts, using Facebook for business can work for you too.

Privacy for our members on social media platforms is an issue brought to our attention through a test pilot we ran earlier this year. This has involved testing social media platforms as alternate channels to communicate with members, which offer opportunity and value to each member’s interests. The final results of the pilot are due in late April, however this concern with online privacy has already been clearly identified.

Simply put; not all of our members know how to be secure and confident of their privacy settings while using social platforms. To address this, we have some guidelines that will help you to maintain a secure online presence.

Privacy guidelines

No matter which social media platform you’re using, spend the time to ensure your personal settings reflect the level of privacy you would like.

Always ask yourself:

  • What information am I giving to the platform and associated apps?
  • What information am I making available to the public?
  • What could happen with the information I post or share?

Information and the platform

When you sign up to any social media platform, you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions. But, as a user, you have control over how much information to provide to the platform and the apps or associated programs you may use with those platforms.

Platforms that allow apps to connect and post on your behalf also have rights to your information. These are rights that you can control before you give permission to connect. This element has been the originating point for the recent Cambridge Analytica and Facebook Data Breach issue.

Top tip: Never ‘Allow’ an App to have permission to connect to your profile without first reviewing and confirming what information you are willing to share with the app.

Joining Facebook Groups

The most common concern we hear from members about using Facebook Group forums is around what other members can see of their profile. As a user, you have complete control over what is visible to other people on the platform. Even better, Facebook has just updated it’s layout to make your privacy settings easier to find and manage all in one place.

Setting your page privacy to “Friends only” is the best way to control exactly who sees your posts, photos and friends lists. So even if you belong to Facebook group, if a member is not your Facebook friend they won’t be able to access your information. You can also control incoming friend requests, as well as controlling which of your friends see posts by allocating them as friends, acquaintances.

Top tip: You can also create custom lists to organize friends as you like. You choose who goes into these lists and what privacy restrictions apply.

On platforms like Instagram, the choice is limited to a private or a public profile. LinkedIn has a range of privacy options, under the Account menu, which allows you to choose who can see what about you on your profile, your contact details and includes limiting visibility of you viewing other LinkedIn profiles.

Discover your local members Facebook Group

Connect with other CA members in your area in our regional Facebook Groups. Find the members group for your area and use your member number or email address to join.

Find out more

Posting etiquette

Even with all your privacy settings in place, always remember that once you’ve shared something on the internet, it’s there forever, even if you delete your original post or writings.

This rule of thumb applies whether you are posting privately to your own social media network, via messages, text message, or in a public or private forum. There have been many recent examples of how personal posts on any platform can and have been used in defamation cases or have landed employees in hot water with their employers.

The 'think before you post' checklist

  • Take a moment to re-read and consider whether what you are saying represents your true self.
  • How will it reflect on any business or brand connected to you through employment, association or membership?
  • Your opinion is only a screen shot away from being public, so consider whether what you’ve written is something you would say to the person’s face.
  • The flipside of this: are you simply letting off steam through words?
  • Ensure your posts comply with the law and your obligations under the Code of Ethics. Like all forms of communication, inappropriate posts may be subject to disciplinary action. 

Facebook privacy settings

The social media giant has now made it much easier to find and adjust your privacy settings.

Learn more

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