How Private is your Social Media?



Maggie Reid, Features Editor

The show, “You” is a twisted series on Netflix about a bookstore manager, Joe, and a graduate student and aspiring poet, Beck. Joe quickly becomes obsessed with Beck and learns private information about her through social media.

While “You” provides great entertainment value, the show has some students thinking about social media use and how private their information is online.

Senior Katie Phillips tries to stay as private as she can on social media.

“I stay private by keeping my Facebook fully private,” Phillips said. “I only accept close friends and family. If I don’t know who they are, I don’t accept them. Twitter is private also. The only thing that is public is my Instagram, but I never really disclose private information by using location on there, hardly ever really.”

Despite staying as private as she can online, Phillips sometimes worries about the personal information that someone can find about her if they “really wanted to.”

“Thinking about the types of people that are out there in the world really makes you think,” she said. “I am concerned about how much people are able to find out no matter how much you try to stay private.”

Phillips recently finished “You” and had some thoughts on the show.

“I think it’s realistic in the sense that there are people out there with stalker characteristics, but I don’t think they are to that extreme,” Phillips said. “My main takeaway is get some curtains.”

Freshman Sara Michelson follows similar methods to stay private online.

“I keep all social media on private,” Michelson said. “Any follower request I do get, I try to make sure I know who they are. An exception would be me following someone everyone knows, like someone famous. I don’t know them obviously, but I follow them. But that’s different than a complete stranger that no one I know has heard of.”

Michelson sometimes Googles her name to see how much information about her is accessible online.

“I have Googled myself a bunch of times to see what comes up,” she said. “You can even just search your email and any apps or account associated with that might pop up. I Google myself every year just to see how much I can find and delete things and accounts as needed.”

Despite her social media caution, Michelson has yet to watch “You.”

“I’ve only heard of it, and I barely know what it is about, but I do plan on watching it,” Michelson said.

Like Phillips and Michelson, junior Ryan Humphrey keeps all his social media accounts private.

“Recently I switched all my accounts to private because I kept getting weird spam accounts following me,” Humphrey said. “A fake account hacked my Facebook and started messaging me saying I need to direct message them money, like $4,000 or something like that, or they were going to sell my private info. Obviously, I didn’t pay them and just changed my password and switched to private. Social media is annoying. I didn’t really care at first, but now I don’t want people able to look at my private stuff.”

Like Michelson, Humphrey has also Googled his name to see what comes up.

“I Googled my name a couple times and you can find out where I live and who I am related to,” Humphrey said. “If someone wants to, they can easily know where I live, which is scary. People are given access to too much information.”