How Private Is Your Data On Social Media Apps?

Online social networking sites have risen exponentially since they started in the early 2010s. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat leading the way, and with the amount of your data that has become available online and stored in the cloud, there has been an unending conversation about how your personal information is used – with some people becoming completely paranoid after a few experiences.

The debate is usually inspired by the extent to which social media platform administrators can access user profiles, and there are now ethical considerations, the legality of consent, user awareness and boundaries of subsequent privacy violations as technology advances.

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Undoubtedly, mobile technology (…social media networking), cloud computing, big data analytics, the Internet of things. All four technologies are essential to business (and personal) progress. Unfortunately, they are also a threat to our privacy.

There is an increase in privacy breaches that erodes our trust. It feels like we’re holding our breath waiting for the next thing these social media apps will do with our data. For now, all we know is that our data is used by third-party companies for targeted marketing, but what else?

Ermm…it’s true we see requests from these social media apps before they actually access these data, yet, what do they do with it once they have it. It’s not totally true that we give access to our data for targeted ads. I mean, these apps target by age, gender, location and so on.

One thing is clear: privacy concerns are not going anywhere anytime soon.

I was once triggered by a simple statement that turned out to be honestly true – Google knows you more than you know yourself.

I also remember when my elder brother threatened to stop using Facebook or any other social media app because he was receiving notifications that he was in the same location as one friend or the other. He understood it to mean that Facebook knew everywhere he went as long as he was logged in and his mobile data was switched on.

Facebook has never done better as a business, and better as a stock because it sells lots of advertising,” said Kara Swisher, editor-at-large at Recode. “But it’s facing all of these reputational issues about what it does with your data. People are worried that this company has enormous troves of data and they are not managing it properly.”

It’s true that we, especially Nigerians, hardly read privacy documents or terms and conditions, but when we do, it’s an epistle of things they would go against in the long run.

Let’s be realistic about the whole thing, these social media apps monitor our every movement in their space. There are even claims by the creators of Telegram that WhatsApp is not as data secure. Any reason you won’t believe that?

We cannot deny the power of these apps. We cannot say we would stop using these social networking apps because there is one issue that can be solved. We cannot delete these apps knowing how much global connectivity we get from these apps. All we are advocating is that these apps UNDERSTAND THAT OUR DATA IS OUR DATA.

Interestingly, a new crop of private social media apps is looking to capitalise on this privacy concern and give users an alternative to sites such as Facebook, in both size and privacy.

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