Do you ever think twice before tagging your location in your social media posts?
While tagging your location on social media may seem like a cool way to share the cool new restaurant you ate at, our show off your hotel room while on vacation, it’s important to remember that data could be visible to more than just your close circle of friends.
This week, concerns about this type of oversharing were ignited when reality TV star Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint after masked men entered the luxury apartment she was staying at during Paris Fashion Week. Although Kardashian West was unharmed in the incident, the gunmen made off with more than $10 million worth of jewelry.
Kardashian – who boasts over 84 million followers on Instagram alone – shared pictures and videos from the apartment to her social media accounts just hours before the robbery occurred. She had also shared several images throughout her stay flaunting the lavish jewelry she was wearing.
Kardashian West did not tag her location on her Instagram posts, and it’s unclear whether her location was visible in her Snapchat posts; however, experts say the star may have put herself at risk by sharing her whereabouts.
WATCH: How Kim Kardashian can avoid another situation like Paris
“Kim and Kanye are going to have to reconsider how much they use their social media, pull back a little bit, and don’t let people know where you are.”
This isn’t the first time the Kardashian clan has raised concerns about sharing their location on social media. On the latest season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians the family expressed concerns that sister Kylie Jenner was too liberal about sharing her location on social media, despite the fact she had a stalker.
While i’ts unclear whether social media had anything to do with the robbery, the case has many talking about the potential dangers of sharing your location on social media.
Here are some tips on hiding your location while using social media apps and websites:
Unlike other social networks, Instagram does not automatically list your location data when you post a photo or a video – however, you are given the option to chose from a list of locations that have already been created, or add your own.
That being said, some users may not realize that they have previously tagged themselves at a location that reveals sensitive personal data (such as your workplace or home address). Luckily, Instagram allows you to view every single location “pin” you have created through a map on your profile.
To view your photos that have locations attached to them, go to your profile page and tap on the pin icon located on the task bar just above your photos. This will reveal a map showing photos which you have tagged to specific locations. You can edit or remove the pins by tapping “Edit” in the top right-hand corner of the map and tapping on the photos you wish to remove from the map.
When using the Facebook app on your smartphone it’s important to keep in mind that if you have “Location Services” turned on in your settings, Facebook will tag your status update, photo, or video post with your location. The location identifier defaults to whatever city you are in while posting that new status update, but you have the choice to add a more specific location – like the restaurant you are at – by tapping the “Check In” feature.
If for some reason you prefer to keep Location Services turned on while using Facebook, you can remove the location tag manually by tapping on it.
If you don’t have location services turned on and chose to manually add a location when posting a picture, say while you are on vacation, keep in mind that Facebook will automatically continue to tag your posts with your location in your next post.
Similar to Facebook, if you choose to send a tweet with your location, Twitter will automatically continue to tag your tweets with your current location unless you turn the feature off.
Keep in mind that Twitter assigns location pins to any tweet tagged to a location – for example, Toronto is tagged “place:3797791ff9c0e4c6.” That tag is publicly searchable on Twitter.
To turn off location data on your tweets click the “pin” icon located on the bottom of the “Send Tweet” box, then tap “Turn off location.”
According to a survey released in July by Allstate Insurance, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of people have posted on social media that they were away from home. The survey, which polled 1,007 Quebecers, found that 60 per cent of men and 51 per cent of women do not always de-activate their geolocation on their mobile devices while travelling.
Remember, experts often recommend that you refrain from publishing your vacation dates on your social media accounts, or flaunting that you are away from home, because criminals increasingly use these tools to find potential victims.