Safety and social media

Particularly in the age of popular social networking media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and blogging platforms, individuals also publish, voluntarily or inadvertently, an unprecedented amount of sensitive information on the Internet. While the intent of those distributing the information may be to provide news or other updates to their audience for informational or social purposes, some of this information may be misappropriated and used for the benefit of criminal activity.

Basic considerations

Before you sign up for a social network, you should ask yourself: "What expectations do I have from participating in this network?"

  • Should it be for private use, so that it is important that only your friends can find you?

  • What do you want to achieve with your profile? Should it be a purely private profile for you or is it (also) intended for business use - hence also possible that you can be contacted by third parties?

For your data protection

If you discover a page that contains false reports or content that is inhumane, you can …

  • It is very helpful to use a separate e-mail address for each network - this may be more of an effort at first, but it protects your privacy a lot more.

  • Think carefully about whether you want to appear under your real name or under a pseudonym - what should be clear to the public?

  • Should your profile content be accessible by everyone (public) or just people you know?

  • To make it difficult for strangers to access your data (such as photos and profile content), resist the temptation to indiscriminately add every possible profile as a friend - you never know who is actually behind it.

Privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter & Co.

Complaining offices are e.g.:

  • Many social media platforms offer the setting option "Make profile invisible to search engines" - this is sometimes hidden - but it can be very helpful if you don't want to be found on the first Google hit. If the setting option is not apparent, contact the network's help center if necessary.

  • Activate the "Privacy Checkup" and verifying function e.g. Facebook - this means that all contributions and markings in which you appear must first be confirmed by you before they become visible to the public.

  • You should not make your contact details visible to anyone unless you are using your account for business.

  • Visibility of your content: Posts, profile pictures, photo albums ... in most networks you can choose exactly who can see which content. The following applies here: the less publicly visible, the better.

The difficulty with personal data

Many people still handle their personal data too lightly without being aware of how much it can be worth for individual companies or authorities, e.g. to better predict their activities and interests and accordingly personalized advertising and to be able to place and present offers.


Examples of personal data recorded:

  • Location data

  • Contact details

  • Information about consumer behaviour

In this way, tailor-made content for advertising can be created and displayed. This enables companies to generate millions of dollars in profits – so personal data actually is worth cash. On the other hand, this sensitive information, should it fall into the wrong hands, can cause great damage and be misused - for example, criminals can tap bank data to access third-party accounts or to create/sell wrong documents with personal or ID numbers etc. ➜ [Cybersecurity]


So always be careful not to give away too much personal information, especially if it is not absolutely necessary!


Additionally, here you can find a short YouTube tutorial about why data protection and privacy is important.

How can I ensure my data security?

Secure https encryption

You should always make sure to choose a secure data connection when surfing (identified by https//:  - the "s" stands for "secure"). This encrypts the data so that your online activities and the information you enter cannot be viewed or intercepted by third parties.


For detailed information see a Youtube video here.

Surfing incognito

Here's how to enable incognito mode for private browsing in Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera.


There are very simple ways to provide more security that can be implemented without much effort. Cookies are also a big topic.

And what are Cookies?

On almost every website you are asked whether you agree to the use of cookies or not. They are text files that are sent by your browser to the relevant server on the site. In this way, the pages can call up and "remember" information from your previous visits. Thus, the content can be tailored to the user and his typical surfing habits. If you agree to the cookies, your personal data will be stored and, for example, evaluated by online shops. This allows a fairly accurate motion profile to be created of the user.


However, accepting cookies can be useful on pages that are used regularly: To avoid having to login again or repeatedly having to fill forms.


A short explanation & how cookies work, you can find on this YouTube video.