Nowadays, billions of people actively use social media platforms, both local ones or Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. At least half of them use their accounts to share something new daily.
From memorable moments with their friends to opinions, people cannot get enough attention via networking sites. However, only some know that everything they ever posted on social media platforms will leave a mark. Even when they delete something, it’s still there, fully retrievable in people’s minds. For this reason, it’s good to know how social media affects your privacy, the risks associated with using such services, and how to protect yourself.
Social media accounts: a window to your life
Regardless of what social media platform you’re using, all of them collect the most data from each user. These platforms continuously monitor your activity online. For instance, if you browse for popular retailers, digital ads will soon start to attack you with streams of offers. Yes, your browsing affects the promotions you see. While convenient, this tracking can be regarded as a privacy violation. The reason why they do this is simple – business. All business activities on social media revolve around users and their data. In a way, people are actually the product on social media.
All a user has to do to connect to people and businesses all over the world is to create a profile. The next thing you know, they’re analyzing your profile, behavior, activity, and so on in order to collect data on their servers.
Protect yourself: Cut down the usage of social media to a minimum, and, if possible, try to detach yourself and your personal life from social media altogether.
Social media: stalkers’ paradise
Since your information is what social media is really after, they will want to know everything about their users. By collecting precious data from the users, social media platforms are making the maximum profits. Yes, we touched upon the owners of social media networks. But what about the users themselves? While you might treat social media as a means of entertainment, communication, and, sometimes, attention, others treat it as a goldmine of private information.
Social media is a convenient place for stalkers to get information on their targets. Photos, with timestamps and exact locations, allow such devious people to show up in such places. Disturbing stories of stalkers pop up for quite some time. One happened in 2018 when a man stalked a girl ever since she was 12 years old. Later on, he started sending frightening images and letters to her house, claiming to have thought about kidnapping her quite early on. Hence, such stories should discourage you from sharing too much information about yourself.
Protect yourself: Avoid sharing personal information is the golden rule here. If you want to be a part of the social media world, do so in a private mode. What does this mean? Do not share images of your house and frequently visited locations. Also, do not add unknown people as friends.
Governments monitor social media networks
The majority of platforms will abide by the government’s regulations regarding data gathering and sharing. The government can access the data about any user, anytime, and under any circumstances, even more so if it’s for the purpose of investigation. If the platform fails to comply, they risk endangering their business.
However, it’s more likely that governments and social media platforms are working together as partners. These platforms are a great asset to the government as they help them to study citizens. If the government wants to know something about any user, they can easily retrieve information from social media. In a way, social media platforms are like government pet projects that are all part of the extended surveillance system.
Protect yourself: Be very responsible when using social media and try not to stand out in any way.
How to use social media safely
Social media platforms are continually releasing new features for the public to make the user experience more friendly, satisfying, and enjoyable. Or, at least, that’s what they want you to think. New features tempt visitors and convince them to stay longer browsing through newsfeeds or never-ending streams of videos. As a result, people become addicted to social media, unable to go longer without checking it. Any addiction is dangerous, and if you notice such habits in yourself, try to change them. A good start is making sure you do not check social media two hours before going to sleep. In addition to spending less time before a screen, your sleep regiment will be greatly improved.
Another important aspect of social media is scams. Some of them might be incorporated as ads, chain messages, or fake pages. Therefore, it is always best to have industry-standard protection. What do we mean? Well, antivirus software is a must, and many people probably have them. Another recommendation is to use Atlas VPN, allowing you to browse more anonymously. A wallet-friendly VPN offers additional protection layers by encrypting all your data transmissions, thus, preventing third parties from gathering personal data. If you follow these tips, your browsing and social media experience will become more private and safer.