Discussion Topic #9: It's important to protect your friends' privacy too (and vice versa)

Today’s world is increasingly marked by texting, tweeting, posting on “walls”, updating statuses, and sharing pictures and videos widely and instantaneously. In this whirlwind of activity, it can be easy for people to believe that they’re losing control over what they post and what others post about them online.

But here’s something important to keep in mind: privacy protection starts with you. You can take control of your online reputation. You set your own privacy settings. You decide who to follow and “friend”. And you decide what to post about yourself and others.

All this to say, you can protect yourself by thinking twice before you post something that could damage your reputation or that someone else could use to hurt or embarrass you. You can also show and encourage respect by checking in with friends before posting anything about them.

Passing along a rumour about friends or tagging them in pictures affects their privacy. That’s why it’s always a good idea to ask if it’s OK before you post something about others. You can also ask the same from your friends in return. In addition, if you’re tagged in a friend’s photo that’s already been posted and don’t want to be, you should feel free to ask that the picture or tag be removed.

Remember, when you are posting things online, it’s important to think in the long term. Everything leaves a digital footprint. Whatever gets posted or created online may never go away. If you or one of your friends doesn’t want to see it tomorrow, you’d better not post it today.

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