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Privacy Mistakes That Could Cost You Your Job

You’ve heard it said from a young age – what you put on the internet will always be on the internet, and it’s important that you have the right privacy settings for you on your social media platforms to keep your personal information safe, and quite frankly, protect your job. This article comes from Entrepreneur.

Privacy Mistakes that Can Cost You Your Job in 2018

1. Not carefully considering stuff you put online

When it comes to the Internet and social media, it is important to realize that nothing is truly private. Of course, there are privacy measures and checks and balances that can be taken to ensure your privacy, and those will be discussed in this article, but it is important to realize that once it is online, no matter how apparently private, there’s a possibility that it could be seen by anybody and everybody.

Multibillion dollar ecommerce sites, that have full-time staff dedicated to ensuring the security of their platform, have been hacked — often resulting in loss of billions of dollars and even entire businesses being shut down. If that could happen, know that there’s at least a chance that what you put online — even with good privacy settings — could come out into the open.

In Payne’s case, further research shows that she actually had privacy settings in place, but a friend without privacy settings enabled re-posted her picture, and things spiraled from there.

2. Not educating yourself about your workplace’s privacy policy

The danger in not informing yourself about your workplace’s privacy policy cannot be overstated. Going back to our case study for this article, Ashley Payne, she did absolutely nothing wrong — at least nothing illegal or that she should be terminated for. However, further digging shows that there was a policy that states that employees can be disciplined for postings on social media (including use of alcohol or “anything students are not supposed to do”).

In essence, her school had a policy against Payne’s action. Payne would later sue her school district because she wasn’t “made aware of her rights.” You don’t want to make the mistake of being ignorant about your workplace’s privacy policy — it could cost you big time.

3. Adding people from professional circles as friends

Stories abound of people being axed from their jobs due to posting something on social media that a colleague or a superior who was friends with them on social media found in violation of company policy.

No matter how close you think you are, it might be a good idea to reconsider adding people from professional circles as friends on your personal profiles — even with strong privacy settings, they will still be able to see your updates since they are friends, and, depending on how they react, things could get out of control.

4. Not being aware of your social media privacy settings

Many people are not aware of their social media privacy settings — or even that such exist. Big mistake!

If you are not aware of your social media privacy settings or have not personally configured it, it might be a good idea to stay off social media. Anything you post on social media can be seen, shared or distributed — depending on your privacy settings — and this could have an immediate effect on your job as well as your future career prospects.

5. Ignoring online accounts and profiles you’ve long stopped using

When it comes to taking care of privacy settings, it is easy to focus only on online and social media accounts you are currently actively using. This is ignoring the big picture. It is important to know that when being considered for sensitive new roles or a new job, a complete background check is likely to be done on you. In other words, insensitive posts you’ve made years ago (that you didn’t think much about) could surface, and they could threaten your career. The solution is to first do this background check yourself, clean up what needs to be cleaned up, tighten your privacy settings and be careful about what you’ll be posting going forward.

6. Being too private to the point of appearing nonexistent

Yes, there’s such a thing as being too private. With all the news about people being axed from their jobs due to posting private stuff, it’s easy to want to toe a line of not having an online presence at all. That could be a big, career-threatening mistake. According to hiring managers, when they try to look up a potential job candidate and find absolutely nothing — in essence, a “ghost” — they immediately send the candidate’s resume to the bottom of the pile.

In other words, don’t go totally incognito; instead, have a presence and keep it completely protected.

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