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Best Practice Update

Guardians of Privacy: 3. Social Media Channels

This article is one of a series written by Data Protection Education in collaboration with Litus Digital, a social media management company.  The articles came about from questions asked by Data Protection Education's customers, our own experience of working in education,  as school governors, parents and data protection professionals.  The articles raise questions about how social media can be used as safely as possible in a school environment,  security considerations, the law and protecting children.  It is not possible to cover every aspect of social media, but the articles aim to provide guidance, raise privacy questions and provide some support for safe posting.

    The third article in this series discusses some of the social media channels and information about what they do and their privacy settings.

    The National Cyber Security Centre also advises using privacy settings across all social media platforms to manage your digital footprint:  Social Media: how to use it safely.


    Basic privacy settings and tools 

    Facebook is used for:

    Connecting friends and keeping updated on their activities.

          Creating communities.

          Allows organisations to engage with customers.

          Job searches.

          Selling goods and services.


          Privacy settings and information 

          Instagram is a free photo and video sharing app available on a mobile device.  Posts can’t be shared on Instagram.


          Account and privacy settings overview 

          Linked offers a membership to anyone that wants to create and maintain a professional profile online. It can be used to find a job, connect and strengthen professional relationships and learn skills that you need to succeed in your career. It is specifically for the business community.


          Privacy settings 

          Snapchat is a messaging app that lets users exchange pictures and videos (snaps) that disappeared after they are viewed.

          Video: What is Snapchat

          It is very popular with teens as it is a phone app and is hard for parents to monitor as the snaps disappear.  Even though the photo/chat may disappear it will not stop the receiver from taking a screenshot of the snap.

          Snap Map allows location sharing but it is possible to do this with specific people.  It is advised to have Snap Map as ‘off’.  Users are encouraged to use the platform through the Snapstreak function which becomes very important to teens.


          Privacy and security settings 

          TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create, watch and share 15-seconod videos shot on mobile devices or webcams.

          The app is liked and used by celebrities  as a way of making money and their usage has helped increase it’s popularity.


          How to protect and unprotect your Tweets

          Twitter is a social media and news site that also connects people but allows people to share their thoughts to big audiences. It is also known as micro-blogging.


          Privacy and safety

          YouTube is a free video sharing website that also makes it easy to watch online videos.

          Full NCSC Article: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/social-media-how-to-use-it-safely

          Other social media channels that should also be considered:


          WhatsApp privacy settings

          WhatsApp allows you to send and receive a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents and location as well as voice calls.
          WhatsApp is sometimes used for messaging business information and is something we would advise against: Using WhatsApp in Schools.


          BeReal privacy policy

          BeReal is a social media app that asks users to post unfiltered photos of themselves once a day.  It encourages users to show people who you really are rather than using filters.


          Threads Supplemental Privacy Policy

          Threads is an app built by Instagram for sharing text updates and joining public conversations.

          Gaming i.e. Minecraft


          Discord Controls and Settings Guide

          Discord is a voice, video and text chat app to talk and hang out with communities and friends. 

          What is Discord?

          Private Channel use

          School website/online learning platform

          How the social media channels have grown over the years.

          If your organisation uses any of the above for publishing information that might contain personal data, consider any due diligence that you may need to have done and any updates to policies and privacy notices.  Review our information about third party due diligence and our Supplier Due Diligence Best Practice Area.

          Guardians of Privacy: Social Media Articles

          Other Articles about Social Media: