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Google+ Safety

Tips and tricks for staying safe on Google+


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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Google+ is a social network site developed by Google. If you have a Google account, you’ll automatically be signed up to Google+. You can use it to keep in touch with friends, share photos and videos from your life, and connect with people who have similar interests to you.

Google+ has some great features, but always remember to protect your safety while using it!

How do I check or change who can view my profile?

An important thing to note about Google+ is that once you have set up your account, your name, profile photo, cover photo and tag line (if you add one) are always public.

However you can tailor many parts of your profile so that specific things are only shared with certain users. If you want to change who you share your profile with and what you share, you need to access the Profile tab in the top left corner of the Google+ menu, then click on About, choose which section of your profile that you'd like to change the visibility settings for and click Edit. 

If you are over 18 and have a profile on Google+ the default settings for who can comment on your posts and who can send you a notification is "Anyone". This means people that you haven't added as friends or added to your Circles. For Google+ accounts for users under the age of 18 the default setting is "Your Circles" only.

Google plus general notification settings.

If you wish to change these default settings at any time access the 'settings menu' on the left and choose who can send a notification to you.

"Who can comment on my public posts?" lets you decide who you want commenting on posts you’ve sent to “Public” or “Extended Circles.” 

To help you be thoughtful about sharing personal information on Google+, the default settings for your profile are meant to make you think before you share broadly. Although some fields, like name and photo are public for users of all ages. Most information for under 18s is limited to people in your circles. You can always change these settings at any time. For example, by default "Employment and Education" is “Public” for adults and "Your Circles" for teens.

What happens if someone you don’t know adds you to their circles?

If someone is interested in what you share on Google+, they may add you to their Circles, even if they don’t know you. They’ll only see what you share publicly, unless you add them to one of your Circles, too.

If you don’t want someone to have you in their Circles, you can block them. To make sure you're sharing the right things with the right people, it's important to keep your circles up to date.

How to block someone

If you want to stop someone from contacting you on Google+, you can block them. If you decide to block someone, these changes will be made within 24 hours.

Once someone is blocked on Google+ you will no longer be in each other’s Circles. You will be removed from that person’s Circles, and they won’t be able to add you again unless you unblock them. They’ll also be taken out of your Circles, including your Extended Circles.

They will no longer be able to see what you post or any comments that you leave on other people’s posts.

They can’t contact you on Google+ or Google Hangouts. They won’t be able to mention you in posts or comments, or add comments to anything you’ve already posted.

It is important to note that blocking only works if the person you’ve blocked is signed in to their Google account. For example, if the person you’ve blocked is signed in, they won't be able to see your public posts. But if they aren't signed in, they may be able to see those posts.

To block someone, open Google+. At the top of the page, use the search bar to find the person you want to block. Open their profile, then click the down arrow next to their name . Click Report/block [person's name]. Check the box next to Block [person's name], then click Done in the lower right corner.

How to remove someone from your circles

If someone leaves your football team, you might want to remove them from your "Football team" circle. To access your circles, simply click on the 'People' menu option on the left hand side. Then you can edit your various circles.

To remove someone from a circle, click the circle to open it and select the X on the upper right corner of their name tile.

Delete a circle

If you find that there's a circle you rarely use, you might want to delete it entirely. Access "Your circles". Click on the three dots menu icon next to the circle you want to delete, then click on 'Delete Circle'.

Reporting

If you see content in Google+ that violates those guidelines (for example, hate speech or bullying), you can report it to Google so that they can take action. Note that these reports are anonymous, so in most cases, the person you’re reporting won’t know it was you.

Report a comment

To report a comment, simply click on the three dots menu option on the right hand side of the comment, and click 'report comment'.

Report a post

On the top corner of each post, there is a three dot menu button. Click this and then click on the 'report abuse' option. Select a reason from the options listed and that will submit the report.

Report a profile

Navigate to the profile you want to report. On the right hand side of their timeline picture you will see the three dots menu button, click it and click on 'report abuse'.

You can also choose to remove comments from your own posts. On the comments, click on the three dots menu button on the right of each comment. From there you can report or delete comments.

You can also disable comments completely for a particular post. Click the menu button in the upper corner of your post and click 'disable comments'. You can also disable comments before posting by opening the menu from within the sharebox (indicated by three dots) and selecting 'disable comments'.

Location

Google+ allows you to share either your exact location, which is called the "Pinpoint Location" or your "City Location" which is the general city, county area that you are in.

  • By default Location Sharing on Google+ is switched off. You can enable this setting if you wish but it is important to know that your exact location is visible if you choose the "Pinpoint Location" option. So if you are trying to dodge someone or keep your travels private, ensure you switch this setting off or you'll be found or caught out in a lie!
  • Depending on your preference you can share your location with whatever people and circles you choose. You can also allow different groups to see different things. For example, you can share your precise location with family, but share only what city you’re in with your friends.
  • If you don't specify who to share your "Pinpoint Location" or "City Location" with, your location is shared only with you by default.

You can also change who can see your location or turn off Location Sharing at any time.

  • To set up or turn off location sharing you need to access the Google+ main menu and click on the Settings tab.
  • Scroll down to "Location Settings" and check the box next to Enable Location Sharing to start sharing your location. You can uncheck the box to turn off location sharing, which turns off sharing for both your pinpoint location and city-level location.
  • To select who you share your precise location with, use the drop-down menu next to Who can see your Pinpoint location.
  • To select who you share your city location with, use the drop-down menu next to Who can see your City location.

Where is your location displayed?

People you choose to share location information with will be able to see your current location on Google products. For example, on your Google+ profile, your location is displayed below your name and profile photo on desktop, Android, and iOS devices.

On Android and iOS, people you share with can see your location on a map in the Locations destination in the Google+ app.

See photos you're tagged in

You and other people on Google+ can tag people in photos using name tags. If you approve a name tag, that tag will link to your Google+ profile and that photo will be added to the "Photos of you" section of your Google+ profile.

To review photos in which you were tagged, go to the "Photos of you" section of your Google+ profile. Here you can choose to Approve or Reject photo tags of you on Google+.

Hangouts

Hangouts are a great way to connect with other people face to face via your webcam. However, sometimes someone joins a conversation that you don’t want to chat with (also like real life).

So when someone outside your circles joins a Hangout, you will be asked if you want to continue. This gives you a safe and easy way to leave the conversation without having to interact with the new attendee first.

Help

To access more information about Google+ settings visit the Google+ Help Center.

Deactivation

To delete your Google+ profile sign into your account and visit this page on your computer or mobile device or scroll to the Disable Google+ section and choose to "Delete your entire Google+ profile" in the Settings section.

Then scroll to the bottom of the page, here Google+ asks if you are sure that you want to delete your profile and informs you that your data from your profile is gone once it is deleted. If you wish to continue with the deactivation just check the box next to “Required” and Click or touch "Remove selected services."

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Published February 4th, 2015
Last updated December 1st, 2016
Tags online safety social media safer internet day
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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