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social media privacy mistake
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Social media

Stop making this privacy mistake on social media

Whether you’re posting a headshot on your LinkedIn profile or uploading a photo to your favorite social media platform, you want to look your best. Anybody can use a camera, but it takes some practice to take a good shot. Tap or click here for five simple tricks to look better in family photos and selfies.

It’s a given that you’re giving up a degree of privacy when using social media. You’re putting your name and photos out there for anyone to see, not to mention any personal information you include in your profile and comments. And your clicks and likes are all being tracked.

When you create an account with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you’re asked if you’d like to sync your contacts so you can more easily find friends, family and business associates. Here’s why you should stop doing that right now.

Here’s the backstory

How do you find the people you want to connect with on social media? You can search for their names or add them through mutual friends. But the easiest way is to share your contacts from your phone and let the platform find them for you.

It seems like a good idea, right? What’s the harm?

You’re giving more than just their names when you upload your contacts. You’re sharing the information you have on them with the social network, which can include their email addresses and phone numbers. The platform probably already has this information for those already on social media. But it might not!

Even worse, your contacts who don’t use social media now have their information exposed. On top of all that, social networks use this information to target them with ads and suggestions.

You can stop sharing contacts to prevent your future phone book entries from being revealed. You can also delete previously uploaded contacts. We’ll show you how to do it all.

RELATED: Opt-Out Tuesday: How to remove your info from Apollo.io

Stop sharing contacts with Facebook

Facebook continuously uploads your contacts from each device where you’re using the app. You’ll have to repeat the following steps for each device. Here’s how:

Turn off continuous contact uploading on your iPhone or iPad

  • In the bottom right of the Facebook app, tap Menu.
  • Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy, then tap Settings.
  • Scroll down to the Permissions section and tap Upload Contacts.
  • Toggle off Upload Contacts.

Turn off continuous contact uploading on your Android phone

  • In the top right of the Facebook app, tap the hamburger menu.
  • Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy, then tap Settings.
  • Scroll down to the Permissions section and tap Upload Contacts.
  • Toggle off Continuous Contacts Upload.

You can also delete your previous contacts from Facebook. Here’s how:

RELATED: 10 Facebook privacy and security settings you need to change right now

Stop sharing your contacts with Instagram

Instagram also periodically uploads your contacts from each device where you have the app installed. Repeat the following steps for each one:

To disconnect contacts syncing on Instagram with your iPhone, iPad or Android phone:

  • Open the Instagram app on your device and tap your profile icon in the bottom right to go to your profile.
  • Tap the hamburger menu in the top right, then tap Settings.
  • Tap Account, then tap Contacts Syncing.
  • Toggle off Connect contacts.
  • Tap Disconnect.

You can also delete your previous contacts from Instagram:

  • Log into Instagram.com from your computer.
  • Click your profile picture or icon.
  • Click Edit profile, then click Manage contacts on the left.
  • Click Delete all, then Delete to confirm.

Stop sharing contacts with Twitter

You can stop uploading contacts to Twitter on an ongoing basis, but you’ll have to repeat the process from each device Twitter is installed. Here’s how:

Stop syncing address book contacts on Twitter with your iPhone or iPad

  • Open the Twitter app and tap your profile icon on the top left.
  • Tap Settings and Support, then Settings and privacy, then tap Privacy and safety.
  • Tap Discoverability and contacts.
  • Toggle off Sync address book contacts.

Stop syncing address book contacts on Twitter with your Android phone

  • Open the Twitter app and tap the navigation menu icon or your profile icon (whichever one you have).
  • Tap Settings and privacy, then tap Privacy and safety.
  • Under Discoverability and contacts, tap Discoverability and contacts.
  • Toggle off Sync address book contacts.

You can also delete your previous contacts from Twitter:

  • Open the Twitter app and tap your profile icon (iOS), or a navigation menu icon or your profile icon (Android).
  • Tap Settings and privacy, then tap Privacy and safety.
  • Tap Discoverability and contacts.
  • Tap Remove all contacts. You’ll need to confirm the removal of all contacts by tapping the prompt.

Think your privacy is safe if you don’t keep a social media account? Think again. Friends and family with Meta accounts may have unwittingly shared your contact info. Tap or click here for instructions on taking back your privacy from Facebook, Messenger or Instagram.

Keep reading

Five social media dos and don’ts to protect your privacy and security

If you do this on Twitter, Musk says you’re getting banned without a warning

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