The popularity of social media websites soared amid the pandemic. They offer more than entertainment and keep users connected with others. These interactions helped millions to deal with isolation and stay sane in the era of social distancing. But as you use these platforms, you must prioritize your privacy online. Being selective about your interactions is a good way to manage your privacy. But it is only the tip of the iceberg, as there are other ways you may be giving away your data to these websites. You must be aware of these loopholes to stay one step ahead with online privacy. Let us explain how you may possibly compromise your personal data unknowingly as a social media user.
Personal details for “free”
When you create a social media account, you offer a lot for free, even if you believe that you get something for free. It includes personal data such as names, gender, birthdates, locations, IP addresses, and device IDs. You even provide more abstract information, such as your preferences, hobbies, and interests. You even give the site the permission to share your data by accepting their terms and conditions.
When using social media websites, you share your location with them. Even disabling location sharing will not do much because there are other ways to find your whereabouts. Using public Wi-Fi networks puts you at a higher risk as you will surely reveal your location, no matter how much you try. Switching to a virtual private network can give you some protection, but you cannot be too sure.
You will be surprised to know that the way you interact with social media posts affects the ads you see on the internet. There is a deep connection between these websites and data as they actually earn revenues by selling your personal preferences. The data serves insights into your buying interests and preferences. Marketers can use them to retarget you with specific ads during subsequent browsing sessions.
Although you may not give away data directly, your behavioral details are easily available to social media websites. These are related to engagement and the way you physically interact with the site. They are equipped to track everything, from how you navigate the page to which version of the site design you spend more time browsing. With this information at hand, creators can develop new features with higher engagement value.
Social media websites often invite users to participate in user surveys, which is another way to give away information for free. It seems like an effort to improve your user experience, but you end up sharing more than you expect by taking a seemingly harmless survey. Imagine yourself as a product they sell to businesses and marketers. The next time you fill one, think twice!
Social media websites do more than keep you connected and engaged. They mine your personal data and sell it to businesses. You must browse them consciously and ensure that you do not give away too much.
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