Should you share your location on social media?
It’s easy to share information with your online contacts. Platforms like social media make it simple for you to broadcast to your family and friends (and even to strangers, depending on your privacy settings) what you’re up to and where you are. Apps like Facebook and Instagram allow you to tag your photos with the place they were taken in, and Facebook allows you to tag your statuses with your location. Meanwhile, Snapchat allows you to share your current location as you stream live, alerting your followers (and the public, depending on your privacy settings) to your whereabouts.
The risks of sharing your location on social media
Some geolocation tags may list the exact address of your location, not just the city or general area you’re in. This means that if you share your location anyone who can view your social media posts may be able to find you in person. If you have children, they may be sharing their location on social media, which could put them at risk of unwanted contact from strangers.
Oversharing could also put your valuables at risk – for example, if you’re showing that you’re away on holiday, you’re essentially announcing that you’re not at your home. This could give criminals – including identity thieves – the chance to target your place of residence, if they know where it is.
How to keep your location hidden
You may want to minimise these risks by hiding your location on your social media activity. Some ways you can do this include the following:
- Make sure that you’ve got location settings turned off on your phone.
- Check the settings for each app on your phone to ensure that the location tracking is turned off for every individual one. This includes the camera on your smartphone, so that your images aren’t tagged with your whereabouts.
- Don’t share your location manually – that is, don’t type it out in a social media post. This includes when and where you are on holiday.
- Check that the privacy settings on your social media accounts are set to your preferences, so that you’re only sharing your posts with people whom you trust.
You can still connect with friends and family on social media without sharing too much information. Being discreet about your location is a good start. To find out how else you can protect your identity on social media sites, read this article.
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