Social Media Privacy: Issues and Their Solutions
By Johan Curtis 6 minutes
Social Media has taken our lives by storm. In many ways, social media made our lives easier by making communicating, connecting, and sharing accessible. Almost everyone in the world has at least one social media account.
Social media accounts require us to enter basic information upon registering, such as our date of birth and where we live. As we continue to use the services, we pile up enough information to sketch a profile about us.
We can choose not to share certain sensitive data with our audience. However, the issue with social media is the collection of data by the service.
Social media privacy issues include that the developers have access to our private information.
What is Social Media – Is it Entirely Safe?
Social media is known as the numerous websites or applications that allow users to interact with other users and share whatever content they choose in social networking.
The question many of us ask ourselves is if using social media is entirely secure? Your concerns regarding social media and privacy are fully justified, considering that a user shares his entire personal and private information on the internet; they have the right to worry about whether their data is in safe hands.
Social media and its privacy settings are pretty solid; however, they do have loopholes.
Those loopholes could likely lead to a breach in your privacy and become a major issue for you. What are the privacy concerns in social media? Keep reading to find out.
Social Media Privacy Issues
Hacking or Impersonation
Social networks are an easy target for online criminals. Hackers can compromise your social media accounts, and since anyone who has access to your email account can get inside social media accounts registered under it. Similarly, if it’s someone you know and they correctly answer the security questions you’ve selected, that too can provide them with a gateway to your account. Some may do this to steal your information and do you harm, and other spammers usually hack accounts in an attempt to spread malware and viruses through your personal account since it is less suspicious.
People around you may not always want the best for you; some may be around looking for the right opportunity to strike. Since most of us upload pretty much everything online, with regular location checks-ins, it becomes very easy for the next person to find out where you are or what you’re doing. Similarly, even social media developers can agree to share your private information with third-party applications or developers, which could also lead to a non-favorable situation.
Similarly, it is always smart to wary of the people you have close to you. Social media has been one of the largest forums for cyberbullying and harassment lately. With online trolling constantly trending, some people often forget their limits and begin to intentionally hurt the other.
In such cases, when the alleged bully/harasser gains access to your accounts- they are then able to share your private information with the public and humiliate you however they choose.
Location Setting Concerns
Since most of us access our social media apps through our smartphones, we often forget that our phones store our location at regular intervals and as you may have noticed that many apps ask for access to your location.
However, even if they do not ask for permission, there are certain times when our location could be exposed.
Collection of Data
Do you sometimes stumble upon a very accurate advertisement as if that particular ad was made just for you? That’s probably because your social media platform or application is tracking your activities, which is a breach of your privacy.
Many social media apps monitor your profile activity, collect your interests, likes and dislikes, and then create a tailored experience for you.
Advertisements may sound harmless, but the fact that someone is collecting your browsing activities across other websites should be alarming for you. It indicates that even your private activity online is not private, and that whatever you do on social media is seen by the app developers and is gathered to create better marketing campaigns.
How can you Prevent Privacy Breaches?
Here’s how you can protect yourself:
Do not use social media apps on public networks
Public networks are vulnerable to hacking. There is always the risk that a potential hacker is monitoring your activity. Hackers can setup fake Wi-Fi access points, direct you to a different website, and trick you into typing credentials on a fake login page.
Stop sharing location on such apps
The smartest move is to disable geo-location on social media applications, even if an app requests permission to access location, do not allow until necessary. Giving access to your location can lead to stalking and harassment.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentications is a privacy feature which is very useful for such social media platforms. You should always enable two-factor authentications for all your apps. This way, you will always be informed if someone other than your attempt to log in. Whenever an attempt to login is made, you are sent a code on either your phone or your email, which has to be entered on the login screen, ensuring that no one but you logs in.
Don’t put everything online
The urge to update your followers about everything you do and post about anything new in your life is understandable; however, not so smart. Sharing is completely valid, but one should always keep in mind what they’re sharing, how much they’re sharing, and whether the information shared can be used against them in any way.
Excess information can easily lead to attempts of hacking or stalking, which is why you should always be wary of the info you post.
Social media is a part of our daily lives, the least we can do is use it responsibly and to address these social media privacy issues. We hope that this helped you realize the few drawbacks that come along with signing up for a social media account and that you followed our steps to take the correct preventive measures.