Social media has taken over. Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are the most popular platforms with billions of users; Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest claim hundreds of millions.
Social media privacy comes up a lot. Social media comes up a lot. Here are some questions I have fielded that you probably have on your mind, too.
Q: I accidentally liked an ex’s photo. Can I take it back?
A: No, you made a dumb mistake. Most social networks notify users of any likes on their profiles. Unliking a post won’t erase the original notification, so you’ll only be safe if notifications are turned off.
Try to be more careful in the future. Better yet, unfollow your ex. You don’t click anymore.
Q: I’m looking for a job/date/whatever. What do other people see when they look at my Facebook profile?
A: Facebook and LinkedIn have “View as” options that let you look at your profile through the eyes of another user. This trick is useful for checking if your specific privacy settings are working or not.
On the desktop version of Facebook, open your News Feed and click your name in the top left. Then click on the three-dot button at the bottom of your cover photo next to Activity Log and select View As. On the desktop version of LinkedIn, open your profile page and look for a button in the upper right corner that says Edit public profile & URL.
Sure, you can make particular posts and photos viewable to only certain people. But if you’re questioning whether a certain part of your life should be public, best leave it off social media altogether.
Q: My grandson told me I’m an “oversharer” with the family on social media. What am I doing wrong?
A: This reminds me of a joke. Did you hear about the woman whose husband called her out for being an oversharer on Facebook?
Your bratty grandson is telling you that you’re annoying. You’re posting too much personal information that friends and followers don’t care about or feel uncomfortable reading. Always think before you post, and consider the interests and tastes of your audience. Tap or click for 5 details you shouldn’t share on social media.
One more thing: Know that there’s a distinct difference between “Here’s what I think about this” and what should really be a conversation between you and your therapist.
Q: I have a very annoying ex/friend/coworker. If I block them, will they know? I don’t want to make a difficult situation worse.
A: This answer depends on the platform. Facebook and Instagram don’t explicitly alert users when they’ve been blocked. Instead, they hide you from the person you want to ignore and the user won’t be able to find you, no matter how hard they look.
Twitter shows an explicit message when you visit a profile that’s blocked you. You won’t be able to contact this user or access their content in any direct way.
Q: I looked up a few old flames because I was curious about what they look like now. Can someone see when I search for them?
A: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram don’t inform users when others visit their profile, and your search history is private.
LinkedIn, however, is designed to help employers and workers connect. With a free account, you can see the last five people who visited your page. If you upgrade to a premium account, you can see all visitors from the past 90 days.
Q: I was upset last night at my boyfriend, had a few drinks and fired off a nasty message. Now it’s morning and I know better. Can I take the message back?
A: If your recipient has already read the message, the damage has already been done. If not, here’s what to do:
On the Facebook app, tap and hold on the message you wish to remove. You’ll see a message box pop up. Tap Remove for Everyone.
On Instagram, open your messages and tap and hold on the message you wish to remove. When the dialogue box pops up, select Unsend. Twitter does not offer the service.
Kim Komando’s show from 1-4 p.m. Sundays on KRMG am740 or fm102.3. Read her columns or get her newsletters at komando.com.