When was the last time you reviewed the privacy settings for any of your social media apps? Social media has become the platform of choice for many Internet users but many are often left unsure of the visibility of their uploaded and posted content. The only way to combat this is by taking the time to better understand the nuances of their settings. Let’s take a look at some of these and see if have we an understanding of the privacy settings for them.

According to a 2018 Business Insider article, the popularity or preference of a certain social media application fluctuates based on age group. The platform of choice for teens (born between 1997 and 2006) is Snapchat with 16.4 million users, while Instagram is in second place with 12.8 million users. Millennials (born between 1981 – 1996) use Facebook the most (at 58.8 million users) with Instagram also sitting in second place (at 43.4 million users). Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) use Facebook the most at 45 million users. As a Millennial, I also follow the trends of the article and find myself using Facebook and Instagram the most.

Age Group Application & Users
Teens (born between 1997 – 2006) Snapchat – 16.4 million users

Instagram – 12.8 million user

Millennials (born between 1981 – 1996) Facebook – 58.8 million users

Instagram – 43.4 million users

Gen X (born between 1965 – 1980) Facebook – 45 million users

Privacy on Facebook

As you upload content, these well-known platforms allow you to decide on the visibility of your posts. But how do they highlight these controls? Let’s take Facebook for example. Do you understand what each icon next to the date means when making a post on your Timeline? Is it a globe, or a silhouette of 2 or 3 people? A globe will indicate that your post is public and anyone can view that post on your page. The silhouettes allow only your friends (2 silhouettes) or friends of friends (3 silhouettes) to view your post. These options can be controlled under your settings in the application. Here is a link to their support page if you want some step by step guidance.

Privacy on Instagram

Instagram also gives you options in your privacy settings, but they aren’t as flexible as Facebook. On Instagram, your profile is either 100% public or private without the ability to choose whether an individual photo can be shared with everyone or just your friends. You can get a better understanding of your settings by visiting their support page as well.

With all of the different settings, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide what content should be made public or private. At the end of the day, is a “private” post really private? Whether you’re uploading a video of yourself singing or tweeting about which Bachelor team you’re on, just take the time to know and understand your settings. It never hurts to have some peace of mind about it. Happy Data Privacy Day!