December 20th, 2016
Social Media and Insurance: Are You Sharing Too Much?
Modern use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter often entail divulging a great deal of personal information to the world at large and many of us have experienced firsthand the trouble that can be caused when the wrong type of information is shared online. While you may feel that you’re sharing information only with a select number of people, it’s imperative that you keep in mind just how public your social media activity really is given the convoluted policies of Facebook and the public searchability of Twitter among other, equally open, platforms.
Insurance in particular presents a difficult case: what if information that you considered to be private were to be discovered and used against you by your life, homeowners or auto insurance provider? With more than four billion pieces of data being shared on a daily basis via Facebook alone, one must assume that there is a great deal of data that could potentially compromise the insurance policies of people around the world.
Stay safe, protecting both your financial interests and your privacy when it comes to social media and insurance by asking yourself whether or not you’re sharing too much:
1. The Danger of Personal Status Updates
Everyone exaggerates from time to time, especially when it comes to ailments or problems that are particularly nagging in a given moment. For this humorous exaggeration to extend to social media, via a Facebook status update, for example, is only natural, but beware the potential consequences of appearing to be dishonest if someone related to your insurance policies comes across your social profiles.
According to autoinsurancequotes.net, discussing health conditions, physical ailments and other bodily troubles, even a headache, could give the impression that you are generally unhealthy and cause a life insurance provider to deny you coverage.
2. Photographic Evidence
What began as a venue for casual photos has turned into a massive public photo album for hundreds of millions of people, leaving Facebook and similar websites laden with photographic evidence of who you are, who you associate with and where you go. While this fact may not present much of a worry under most circumstances, it’s worth remembering that it takes only one compromising image to put you at risk of negative scrutiny from your insurance provider.
3. Limit Your Friends
Statistics from Facebook show that the average user has a whopping 401 friends, a number that is sure to be a far cry from the number of trusted individuals in any one person’s life at a given time. This new definition of “friend” inevitably leads to personal information being shared with many more people than you may realize; Facebook’s default sharing privacy setting, dubbed “friends of friends,” means that even vaguely linked third-parties often have access to your social media content, exponentially raising the number of people that are able to obtain potentially sensitive information with a single click of a button.
Social media is here to stay and, given its ease of use, accessibility and general enjoyment level, no one would suggest that you abstain completely, but limiting the amount of public information that you make available about your home, family and activities is common sense given the number of people and groups that could potentially have an inside interest in your lifestyle.
So what’s the answer to the question of avoiding unwanted eyes where your social media sharing is concerned? Limit the amount of personal information that you share and ensure that your privacy settings, no matter how complicated (we’re looking at you, Facebook), are set to allow access to only those that you know.
While keeping the prying eyes of insurance companies away from your private details may not seem like a priority today, keep in mind that Facebook’s databases aren’t going away any time soon; what you post today could haunt you a decade from now.