Social media risks: Who could be following you?

Published: Updated:
Photo via iMore website.

ESTERO, Fla. It’s easy to know where Chloe Pershing is during the day.

Just look at her Twitter account.

Persing, a Florida Gulf Coast University graduate with a degree in criminal forensics, “checks in” as she drives to and from work – and just about anywhere else.

“The reason that I started getting into it was just in case something would happen, that’s my last location,” she said. “So if my friends need to know where I was, that’s where I was last.”

Carrie Kerskie, director of the Identity Fraud Institute at Hodges University, says maybe that’s not the best approach.

“I understand that in the event that she were to be kidnapped or she’d get into an accident, her family would know where she is,” she said. “But on the other hand, what she’s posting is not just for her family. It is on a public internet. It’s like posting on a billboard on the highway everywhere she’s going.”

A Facebook spokesperson said the social media platform has different privacy settings people can use to control who can see their movements.

“People can choose who sees where they check-in,” the company said in a statement. “Our help center discusses the audience selector tool which lets people to choose who can see what they share. In addition, privacy basics gives people tips for things like securing their account, understanding who can see posts and knowing what their profile looks like to others.”

Foursquare-Swarm, a mobile app that allows users to share their location on social media, has an off-the-grid option that can keep all check-ins private.

“Foursquare Swarm, the check-in app, allows our community of users to share their location with a network of approved friends,” the company said in a statement. “If a user would like, they are given the option to share each check-in on Twitter, which makes their visits public. This is a personal choice and one that is made with each individual check-in. We also offer the option to keep each check-in completely private—we call this an off-the-grid check-in. In these cases, the check-in location is only visible to the user within their own personal profile.”

Twitter did not respond for comment.

Kerskie recommends using the Find My Phone app for checking in, as friends and family can still know where you are without publicly broadcasting your location.

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