With the amount of targeted ads popping up on social media these days, it seems impossible to use social media without feeling like you’re being watched. Everyone talks about it. You have a conversation about penguin onesies with a friend over Facebook Messenger, and the next moment, penguin onesie ads are invading your social media feeds. But the truth is, nobody is actively listening to your conversations. They don’t need to, because you’ve already given them all the data they need.
Every time you visit social media, you’re passively handing over a seismic chunk of your data. It’s the same anywhere online – when you search anything on Google, you’re leaving behind a digital footprint that can be easily accessed and utilized by third parties. Over the years, more people have cottoned onto this. Now there are ways to remove your info from Google and opt out of being “tracked” by data brokers, but what about social media? How exactly do you maintain safety and confidentiality on platforms designed to be “social”?
Staying Safe And Confidential:
Before we talk about how to maintain your safety and confidentiality on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X, it’s first important to understand why you should care. With the large amount of data you are leaving on your social media accounts, scammers can find more than enough information to spy on you, steal your data, send you ransomware, and attempt several other phishing scams.
You’ve also got data brokers taking this information for monetary gain. This data can include your name, your age, your occupation, even your phone number and home address. No matter who it is sold to – legitimate company or not – your safety is at risk, as any cyber breach will hand that information over to criminals who can use it for their benefit. Lastly, if your social media accounts aren’t protected with appropriate privacy settings, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to cyberbullying, offensive content, and even identity theft.
How To Maintain Your Safety And Confidentiality:
As mentioned before, there are several ways to protect yourself on social media, but they are all in your own hands. Because data is such a crucial resource for companies in 2024, you cannot expect your privacy settings to be set in your favor – in their eyes, the more data a company like Facebook or X can collect from you, the better. The first thing you should do, in this case, is opt out of data brokers completely and remove your digital footprint from the internet. This will stop data brokers – who are part of a $350 billion market – from collecting your data at the source, leaving you safer from cybercriminals and breaches that can put it into the wrong hands.
You should also make sure that you are using social media on a secure, safe browser, along with a secure network connection. Scammers and hackers will always look for loopholes in accessing your social media data, so make sure your passwords are also strong, you have set up two-factor authentication, and you regularly update the software of your device.
When you investigate your social media’s privacy settings, make sure you turn off your location, off-platform activity, and anything that you might think leaves you open to scammers or cyber-stalkers. As well as this, make sure that you remain aware of what you post, check over your friends list regularly, report offensive content, and stay aware of all the latest phishing and malware scams. Staying safe on social media doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to be actively achieved by the users themselves. So get to it and make your experience as safe and confidential as possible.