Social Media Privacy: A Myth?
With the recent news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal with Facebook, many good questions are being asked about social media privacy. People are concerned with how much data Facebook, Google and Twitter collect from you, and how that data is used. First, let’s consider what data can be collected.
Social Media Data
When you share a photo on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you are giving those companies permission to use that photo on their site. But this isn”t the only data you are giving to social media. Have you ever given them permission to look through your contacts, or have you ever taken a quiz? The data from these actually can be a lot, and you are then supplying the companies with the phone numbers of your friends, your eating and health habits, and more! How is this data used by the companies?
You are the Product
Many times if something sounds too good to be true, its because it is. When a service is free, it usually means that the data you give them is being sold to third parties. Google, for example, is in the business of advertising. They see what advertisers are looking to target, and then match it to people who may be interested in what the advertiser has to sell. However, the data (as far as we know) never leaves Google. The recent Facebook scandal was caused by developers having a lot of access to user information than what many people were comfortable with. This was utilized by Cambridge Analytica for the recent divisive presidential election to target voters in key states. No matter where on the political spectrum you lie, the potential influence this data can have is frightening.
How to shrink your digital footprint
While removing your social media accounts can help, for some people this may not be possible due to staying in touch with friends and family. To shrink the data these companies know about you, review the privacy statements of all your social media accounts. Many times your social media accounts have settings that can help you to limit what data you share. If you are ever unsure of what these settings do, consult a technology services company. ActivPC will gladly help you to decide how much to share online, and even give you more tips!