Social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular. The most used social media platforms today are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok. These platforms are so hyped among the people, be it youth, senior citizens or children.


    However, with the increasing use of these platforms, people are getting more and more concerned about their privacy. How many times have we noticed that we are talking to our friends about a certain product and the next minute we see the same product suggestion on our Facebook newsfeed? This creeps us out and makes us wonder, are these sites eavesdropping or what?

Social media relies on its user's data. This is how they can provide analytical reports to businesses. Facebook has been sued in the past for this very this .i.e. leakage of data to marketing companies. This is why, many individuals are concerned about sharing their data by these sites, which makes sense. Any sane man would be.

In this article, we outline five common social media privacy issues and discuss in detail how these are a matter of concern for any individual in the year 2020.


The following are the main privacy issues that come from using social media platforms:   

1.       Leakage of Personal Data:
        Many social media users share personal information on Facebook or other social platforms which leads to security concerns. For example, sharing your residential address, or tagging of places where you're having food at, travelling information etc allows many predators to attack you and search you on these public sites. 
         A lot of personal data and pictures of users have been used to harass and bully these individuals. A lot of females have been victims of their pictures being misused in the dark web. The list is endless of personal information being leaked.
         Do not share your house address, your location, your financial information, your business information for the public to see. Many of these social media sites have now designed security settings which lets you share your information and post with selected individuals. So invest your time to ensure safe privacy settings.
How does data mining work? Social media platforms use the information provided by the user such as name, address, email, date of birth, your likes and dislikes, your habits and sell this to the third parties. Who then use these analytic to target their products to their specified audience.
         Spreading of malware and viruses have become easier because of these platforms. Once the hacker has access to your profile, this leads to a lot of damage not only to your profile but the profile of your friends and family comes at risk also.
These small cookies have the power to track your shopping habits, interests, behaviours etc. In turn, the data collected from these cookies are used to build a user profile and is sold to the marketers who then use all this data for their campaigns.
          So what can you do? First, We suggest put on secure privacy settings for the peace of your mind. Second, don't overshare on these public forums. The less you share, the less data is at risk. Third, switch to private social media networks. Many media platforms are launched that are private and guarantee that your information will not be shared or misused. A lot of people are switching to these platforms and inviting only their close circle to share their lives with.

2.       Access to Application:
           Many gaming and other applications ask for access to social media profiles. Much of your data can be leaked through these third party applications without you realizing it. When authorizing access to the application, it’s better to check what access are you giving to them.
3.       Data Mining:
           The social media platform that you are using, even the most popular ones use the data off there registered users to provide to third parties. This is the bread and butter of these social media platforms.
Many of us see Facebook ads based on our google search etc, this happens because Facebook is collecting data on our search tags etc. The social platform uses all the data to create ads, sell to third parties, collect data for research, use your pictures and date for other campaigns.
This is the main reason that today many individuals are switching their profiles from a public
socialmedia platform
to private social media platforms. The reason being, these public platforms have becomes so saturated and unsafe that people don't want to be a part of it anymore.
4.       Hacking And Fake Profiles:
            Many individuals and stalkers are benefiting from public social media profiles and using someone's personal information and pictures to create fake profiles. Facebook has reported so many fake profiles this year that it is hard to authenticate Facebook anymore.
Many hackers are stalking profiles to find data on you. For example, learning the name of your dog and then using it as your password to break into your account. Social engineering attacks are very easy for these hackers through phishing.
5.       Social Tracking:
            This is another form of tool that is used by social media platforms to track their users. How do they do this? These social platforms work with cookies, which are small files that gather your information and keeps a track on you. This means whatever you are doing on other social media sites, searching, buying, surfing etc, all of it is recorded by these social media sites.
             After reading this article, you might get an anxiety attack or the feeling that someone is watching you. This is true. These social media sites are watching you, no doubt about that. The question is Can you protect yourself and your data? The answer to that is a simple NO. Whatever data you put out there, is in the hand of these social media sites.
Lastly, many individual are getting off social media platforms as well. Which means that they are not using platforms personally. This an extreme option but if privacy is something that you cannot compromise with, this is not a bad option either.


Article Writer

Taimoor Badar

Co-founder of TechNet

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