Reddit now has over 330 million users. There’s so much to love about Reddit. You can customize it down to your hobbies and interests, connect with people from around the world, and discover so many things.
Reddit is fantastic, but it does have a variety of risks. This guide focuses on how you can better protect your identity and privacy on Reddit.
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Privacy on Reddit
There are two kinds of risks when you use Reddit — the platform itself and other users.
Reddit can do what they want with your data. And they have mountains of it. From your upvotes to downvotes to favorited content, the information they have about you is truly staggering. Most of the time, they use it to sell personalized ads. But active Redditors can have a pretty accurate persona on Reddit. You may not want someone tying it to your real identity.
At the same time, you need to be on the lookout for other users. There are thousands of horror stories about creepy Reddit users. Someone can piece together your real identity and location from your post history and a few comments.
This is what you should start doing now to protect yourself on Reddit:
1. Remove Search Engine Indexing
Reddit allows search engines to index your profile by default. So, if somebody searches your username, they can find things you’ve commented on, your active subreddits, and so on. It means your employers, teachers, friends, and anybody else can see your Reddit activity.
In your profile settings, be sure to disable “Search Engine Indexing.”
Note: it is also common for other social media platforms. Disable it for Facebook, Instagram, Quora, and anywhere else.
2. Change Up Your Information/Posting Details
The whole point of Reddit is that it’s supposed to be pretty anonymous. You should feel free to say what you want (within reason) without having the fear that somebody will judge you for what you do or say.
Unfortunately, Reddit users can piece together enough information about you based on what you post or comment on.
To begin with, change your username. Don’t use your real name and make it literally anything else.
When posting personal stories, change the non-essential information. If you want insight about something that happened to you, you don’t need to say, “One time at my college in Lexington, Kentucky on Fourth Avenue.” You can omit or alter some details.
Keep things as far away from yourself as possible.
3. Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) anonymizes and encrypts your internet connection. When you use one, nobody can track what you do online. Best of all, you don’t have to do anything technical to benefit from this privacy tool. Once you choose a VPN service provider, all you do is install a VPN client and turn it on. That’s it.
VPNs are useful for Redditors because they can often prevent other users and Reddit from tracking them down. As for Reddit, they can’t see your real location and IP address. You leave fewer breadcrumbs for them to track.
Other Reddit users can’t figure out your IP address from your posts or comments, but they can send you links for the same purpose. If you open it, they can discover your actual IP address and the approximate location. Unless you use a VPN, of course.
4. Remove Followers
Reddit isn’t like other social platforms. Instagram has made the notion of having thousands of followers for your account a good thing. Reddit is a little more a mixed bag. You might want to be genuinely private there, or you may want to get Reddit Gold gifted to you every month—it doesn’t matter.
In either case, whether you want to be a Reddit celeb or lurk in peace, you can remove followers, especially those who you feel are a threat to your privacy. Do note — people can still track what you do by searching your account.
5. To Share/Not To Share Username
In the old days of Reddit, only a minority of people ever shared their usernames with people they knew in the real world. Asking for somebody’s Reddit name was a faux pas.
Now that Reddit has grown much more popular, that idea has started to fade a little. But the concept remains the same. You might not want to share your username because even if you trust somebody, you never know what could happen.
As with other types of social media, you might decide to have multiple accounts. Find a strategy that works best for you. But remember that once somebody has a username, there’s no going back.
Reddit is a unique, fun, and exciting alternative to other forms of social media. Stay safe and follow these privacy tips to ensure your privacy never gets jeopardized on it.