Pinterest is Fun, But There Are Privacy Risks

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Pinterest is one of the most popular images-sharing platforms in the world. Like Instagram, the platform makes it easy for you to browse through images uploaded by multiple users. The format and the usability of Pinterest make it one of those platforms where you find yourself spending more time than you have. Also, in terms of market share, the social media site isn’t doing badly at all: it has over 335 million users worldwide and has over 18% of the total social media visits in the US (Statista).

While the vivid images and infographics and the variety of content make Pinterest an enjoyable platform, there are some risks for users as well. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should know about Pinterest as a user:

Information collection policies 

Of course, these days it’s a norm for most social media websites to collect some sort of information, with email and social media account being to common types of information they ask for in the signup process. According to Pinterest’s privacy policy, they collect your personal information including your name, photo you select for your profile, and your email. Other information that Pinterest collects is whatever you share on the platform,  the device you use to log in, and your IP address. 

This type of information is collected by many popular sites. There are many ways in which the collected information is used. Social media sites can use it to tailor content according to your interests and browsing habits. They can also use it to offer internet marketers a data-backed marketing opportunity. But, the information collection practice becomes risky for the user if there’s a hacking of the social platform. If you’re concerned about data breaches and misuse of personal information, here are some ways in which you can reduce the risk:

Cut down on cookies

Cookies are messages that web servers provide to your web browser. The browser stores these messages in a small file. The information stored usually includes the web page, and any information you’ve agreed on giving, such as your name. Check if your browser allow you to minimize cookies and tracking capabilities. These options are available with all the popular browsers, including Mozilla, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. 

Disconnect your socials

If you’re not a social media influencer, then there’s probably no need to connect your social media accounts. Instead of joining Pinterest using a Facebook account, create a separate username and password. 

You can remove your social media accounts by using the Social Networks button in settings. This section will show you which accounts are connected. Disconnect the accounts by switching from Yes to No.  

If you prefer to connect to Pinterest via Facebook, you will still have control over what is shared from your Pinterest account: Pinterest won’t automatically share your pins.

Limit your info to the minimum requirements

The name and photo you provide to Pinterest or have on your connected Facebook account are visible to everyone. One way you can tweak the name part is by providing only the initials of your last name. You can change your name from your profile page by clicking the Edit Profile icon.

Delete your account when you leave the platform

If you aren’t an active Pinterest user anymore and also don’t see yourself using the app in the future, then make sure you remove Pinterest account instead of just uninstalling the app. Pinterest gives you the option to deactivate your account and also to delete your account. Also, if within two weeks of deleting your account you decide to rejoin, you can continue from where you left: Pinterest saves your pins for this period.  

Use the “No Pin’ code

If you have a website and there’s information on your website that you don’t want users to share on Pinterest, embed the “No Pin” code on your website. This will give a clear message to pinners that your site doesn’t allow them to save to Pinterest. If you decide to make some content shareable, you can still do that by providing a separate option. 

Create private boards

Previously, any board you created on Pinterest was visible to the public and there were no other options. This has changed; now you can create a private board and select the people who will be able to see that board. There is a Create a Secret Board option for the private boards. 

Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines

Pinterest allows search engines to find and index your Pinterest content by default. In some cases, you may have content that doesn’t fit in a secret board but you also don’t want it to be shared by everyone, including those who don’t know you. You can disallow search engine indexing by changing the Search Privacy to No from Yes in the settings.  

Block users 

Pinterest allows you to block and report users. If you encounter a spammer or someone sharing inappropriate content, you can report them. If someone is within the content guidelines but they seem like a threat to your privacy or security, you can act on your instincts by blocking them. 

In conclusion

Pinterest is a great platform for finding style inspiration. The site is also used by businesses in a wide range of industries, from health and fitness to home improvement and self-help. 

With user data becoming a prized commodity and data analytics taking center stage in the online marketplace, your data is collected and analyzed in great detail. At the same time, in the wrong hands, this data could be misused for financial gain and also for scamming others. 

Thankfully, there are options you have to use Pinterest and similar sites without sharing all your personal information. You can start by providing minimum info and keeping your social media accounts separate. Inside your profile, you can disallow your information to be indexed on Google and other search engines. If you have sensitive information to share, use a secret board to share that information with the people you choose. Taking these precautions don’t guarantee anything, but they help you reduce the security risks and continue enjoying Pinterest.

About Author

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LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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