A person working on a laptop displaying a large 'DATA BREACH' warning sign on the screen, with a notepad, pen, and a cup of coffee on the table, symbolising the importance of privacy and data security while using social media.

Your privacy is - or should - be very important to you. The more levels of intrusion and surveillance we allow from our governments, the more appetite we develop for protecting our personal privacy. Using social media and maintaining your required levels of privacy often seem like conflicting goals, but it is possible to maintain a social presence without having your movements, images and personal information shared all over the place. As well as maintaining your privacy, smart use of social media can also help your future career prospects. A 2013 study revealed that 92% of employers use social media to recruit and screen candidates during the hiring process. So if your profile is open and it's easy to see those pictures of you in, shall we say, a state,' you're doing yourself a disservice.

Anonymise your Facebook profile

If you want to be able to use Facebook to keep up with events and avoid missing out on any exciting news, you can do that without giving publishing your identity online. Change your profile picture to something other than your grinning face. If you want, use something that your friends will recognise but that strangers (or stalkers) won't. A picture of a pet, an image from childhood, or even a reference to an old nickname could all work. Then change your name. To do this, click the little arrow in the top right of the screen, click 'Settings' and select 'Name.' Then simply type in a new name, review the changes and save.

Once you've done this, you won't be able to change your name again for the next 60 days. so please double-check it. And do keep in mind that Facebook has become super strict about what you can and can't have a name. They often demand proof and will shut down accounts that appear to be overtly fake. If you're going to use a pseudonym, don't use one that will trigger suspicions, as Jemmaroid Von Laalaa (now her real name, after a row with Facebook forced her to adopt her spoof moniker) did.

How to stop people from sharing my photos on Facebook

All of the above measures are fine until your friends start tagging you in images. This is the bane of many a Facebook user's life, as the images often make it online without your permission or even knowledge. They're rarely flattering, and the concerning thing is, they can very often lead to problems as they put you in specific places at specific times; they are quite annoying if you want to keep a low profile or avoid 'running into' an ex or people you'd rather keep at arm's length.

To partially mitigate this, change your settings to approve all images before they are published to your profile. This won't stop the images from going up, but it will keep them out of your photos. Go to 'Settings', then 'Privacy' and under 'Who can see my stuff?' enable 'Timeline Review.' And while you're in there, make sure the content you post is private too. Do this by clicking 'Friends,' 'Close Friends' or 'Only Me' under 'Who can see my stuff?' To test your privacy settings, click 'View as' and browse your profile.