Why you should never delete social media accounts.

 In Observation

So you are tired of politics, ads, or having an insatiable dopamine slot machine in your pocket. You’ve decided to pull the plug and say adios to social media forever. Good for you! I get it and I fully support you taking this step. Just don’t delete your account.

The Risk

The problem is your Social Media accounts are a treasure trove for scammers. Once you’ve deleted your accounts its much easier for an attacker to successfully impersonate you and possibly steal your name, especially in Instagram.

A scammer can grab some old pictures, your old name (or something similar), then start messaging your friends trying to scam them. It’s incredibly easy to do. You’ve likely received one of these messages before from a someone pretending to be a friend.

What to do instead

So how can you opt out while trying to protect and or preserve the space? Try deactivating where possible.

  • Deactivate Facebook – you can reactivate your account any time by logging back in to Facebook.
  • Temporarily Disable Instagram – Similar feature as Facebook.
  • Twitter – Twitter does NOT offer an unlimited deactivation. Rather, I suggest you uninstall the apps and don’t use it.

Additional Considerations

Post a Hiatus message

Don’t gloat that you are leaving, its a personal choice, not a manifesto. Plus you might find yourself creeping back a few months later. Just a kind note that you are taking a break. Let friends know how to get in touch with you and set the expectation that you won’t be active for awhile.

Delete Your History

Clean up your posting history using the the Jumbo Privacy App. It automatically deletes old tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram posts. I’ve been running it for almost 2 years and highly recommend it.

Enable MFA

Please, please, please… make sure multi-factor authentication is turned on. This is the best way to protect your account! It’s free and you only have to turn it on once. Visit Authy.com/guides to find out how to turn it on for most any service your have. (Don’t forget to do it for your personal email as well.)

Reset & Take Control

This is a great moment to review how you are using technology. Look at the Center for Human Technology’s “Take Control” page for excellent suggestions. (No Notifications is life changing.)

Closing Thoughts

These steps will not make you immune from being impersonated, active accounts are impersonated all the time. The difference is your friend has a better chance of knowing its a scammer when they can go check your real feed.

Remember:

  • Never click links that you don’t know or didn’t expect.
  • Never give personal information out to someone you don’t know.
  • If you or a friend discover that an account is being impersonated please report the account to the social network.

Thanks for reading. Since I’m not active on Facebook you are welcome to follow-me on Twitter, @tsudo.

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