Protect PII on Social Media

Published, January 28, 2013

Fast Fact IconSocial media are excellent venues for exchanging information, but some of this information could contain personally identifiable information (PII). PII is any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity. Examples include but are not limited to: name, Social Security Number, date of birth, home address, home phone number, personal e-mail address, financial information, fingerprints, photograph, and medical information. Most people are aware of the need to protect PII in the workplace, but this need also applies to social media.

The following tips should be kept in mind whenever you are on a social media site:

  • Assume all information shared on social media sites could be made public.
  • Do not post or discuss work-related information, especially sensitive/classified information.
  • Do not mention your whereabouts or location if you deployed – including during the time leading up to your deployment.
  • Do not criticize others, especially co-workers and senior officials.
  • Use privacy settings and controls when possible to limit access to your information. Even with access and privacy controls, social media accounts can still be hacked.

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