Every year on June 30th, we celebrate World Social Media Day! Established in 2010 by Mashable, Social Media Day is dedicated to recognising the impact that social media has had on global communication and connection. From staying in touch with loved ones to mobilising social movements, social media has fundamentally changed the way we interact with the world.

Social media platforms have become an integral part of our personal and business lives. Social Media Day offers a chance to celebrate the positives of these platforms, as well as an opportunity to promote cyber awareness of the various challenges associated with using social media.

Using social media responsibly is important for both personal and business purposes, therefore we have compiled some best practice tips to enhance your cyber security when using social media:

  1. Use strong, unique passwords and a password manager: Create passwords that are long and complex and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts to prevent a single breach from compromising all your accounts. The NCSC advises using three random words, as a minimum level of password security, to help create a difficult password that may be easier to remember. However to further password security, using password managers will allow you to use separate complex passwords for all accounts without the need to remember each individually
  2. Enable Two-Step Verification (2SV): 2SV, or Multi-Factor Authentication, adds an extra layer of security by requiring not only your password but also a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone. This makes it harder for attackers to gain access to your social media accounts even if they have your password. Find out more with the NCSC guidance.
  3. Review privacy settings: Social media platforms offer various privacy settings that allow you to control who can see your posts and personal information. Regularly review and adjust these settings to ensure that you are sharing information only with trusted individuals.
  4. Be cautious with personal information: Avoid sharing sensitive information like your home address, phone number, or financial details on social media. Cyber criminals can use this information for identity theft or other malicious purposes. Many social media platforms also have location-sharing features. Turn off location sharing unless absolutely necessary to protect your privacy and prevent others from knowing your whereabouts.
  5. Think before you post: Once something is posted online, it can be difficult to remove completely. Consider the long-term implications of your posts and avoid sharing content that could be harmful to your reputation or that of others. This is crucial for organisations, as poorly judged content, malicious posts, or posting personal views, instead of the official company stance, can damage trust in organisations of all sizes.
  6. Educate yourself on phishing and various online scams: Stay informed about common social media scams, such as fake giveaways, job offers, or investment opportunities. Recognising the signs of a scam can help you avoid falling victim to these tactics. Be cautious of unsolicited messages and links, even if they appear to come from friends or trusted sources. Cyber criminals often use phishing tactics to trick you into clicking on malicious links or providing personal information. For further information check out the NCSC phishing guidance.
  7. Monitor account activity: Regularly check your social media account activity for any unusual or unauthorised actions. Most platforms provide a history of logins and actions, which can help you detect and address suspicious behavior.
  8. Report and block abusive users: Social media platforms have tools to report and block users who engage in harassment, bullying, or other abusive behavior. Utilise these tools to protect yourself and maintain a positive online experience.
  9. Regularly update software: Keep your social media apps and the devices you use to access them updated with the latest software and security patches. Updates often include fixes for security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.
  10. Practice cyber wellness: Maintain a healthy balance with your online activities. Limit screen time and prioritise offline interactions. Be aware of the emotional and mental impact of social media use and seek help if you feel overwhelmed or harassed online.

In celebrating World Social Media Day it’s important to highlight the positives of social media, such as fostering global connections, promoting creativity, and supporting businesses. However it’s equally as important to approach its use with responsibility and mindfulness, to ensure a continued positive experience online. By following these tips, you can enhance your social media presence, build meaningful connections, and ensure a positive and productive relationship with social media in the future.

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