I know this is not a holiday related post, but it it VERY important and relevant nonetheless. Please feel free to pass this on to friends and family.
Let me just start out by saying- I LOVE Pinterest. It's become quite an addiction for me, and any time I get a few minutes free you can surely find me pinning some awesome ideas on there. I also love it because of the wonderful things it has done for this blog. The majority of my traffic is generated through Pinterest, and I am forever grateful for that.
However, like any other social website, there will always be a few bad people looking to destroy what is (for the most part) a very safe and fun community. I experienced this first-hand just a few days after I joined. I just sort of assumed that whatever the people I followed (my friends) pinned was safe to click on. After seeing my anti-virus software go into "panick-mode" and tell me that I had hit a malicious URL, I realized just how naive I was. Since then, I have learned quite a few ways to protect myself from getting into a situation like this again, and I'd like to share them with all of you:
Protect Your Computer
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you have a reliable anti-virus software installed. No matter what website you are on, if you are clicking any links or downloading anything you need to be protected. After years of using a very expensive anti-virus program that kept letting things slip through the cracks, I decided to try out a friend's recommendation, Avast. I use the free version, and it has worked wonders for me. However, there is also a paid version available should you need it.
Check the Source
Whenever I see a pin I find interesting, the first thing I do is click on it once to bring up all the details. In the right corner right above the repins, there is a section that says "Pinned via _____ from _____." The second blank will be the website the pin will link to, or the source. If you recognize website, carry on. If not, Google it instead of clicking the pin and check out what others have to say about the site. Is it safe? Does it show content it claims to show? If it looks fishy, it's just not worth the risk to me.
Friends Don't Let Friends Pin Unsafe Content
What makes Pinterest so great (and sometimes bad) is that any one pin can go "viral" (a.k.a getting passed around like crazy) within minutes. So if you notice a pin that looks like it may be spam or other risky content, comment on the pin and let the person know that they should take it down. This will also let other people know when they see it not to repin.
Use the Report ButtonIf you've tried the previous idea to no avail, it's time to report the pin and let Pinterest handle it. To do this, click once on a pin to pull up the details. On the right hand side of the pin, there will be a series of buttons including the "Report" button. When you click it, there will be a list of options you can report it for such as "Hateful Speech", "Nudity", or "Spam". I generally report any unsafe content as spam, as that seems to be the most effective way to get it removed quickly.
Have any other ideas to stay safe on Pinterest? Feel free to add them in the comments!