Social Media Privacy and Your Personal Data: What You Need to Know

Privacy concerns with social media? Most people use social media as much as they go out, play sports, or work. People who don’t use any social media account are a dying breed. Is that something terrible? Not per se. Putting people in touch with each other from far away has a lot of benefits and can bring people together, even from different countries.

Still, it’s a hard truth that privacy sometimes seems to be a thing of the past in today’s world. Traditional Social Media companies learn much about you when using their social networks. This is because of things like geolocation check-ins, tagged photos, online timestamps, and so on.

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What kind of info are we talking about? Think about your relationship status, the classes you took, the foods you like, your political views, and so on. All of this information is part of your social media profile.

People don’t seem to mind giving out their personal information if it means they can use social media. But I don’t think they know how big it is. For instance: In 2018, ProPublica published a study that found that Facebook uses more than 52,000 different ways to classify its users.

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Internet Privacy – What Data Does Social Media Collect?

There are five main types of information that Social Media collects:

Social Media Behaviors

Behavioral social media data tries to find patterns in how people use social media. Examples:

  • Social Media Transactions: Purchases, subscriptions, average order value, and other metrics are included.
  • Social Media Usage: Repeated actions, such as finishing a task or using a feature.
  • Quality Social Media Data: User attention, heatmaps (clicks, scroll, and mouse movement data), time on site/app, etc.
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Engagement in Social Media

The engagement data that social media networks collect and measure shows how users interact with their platform, third-party sites, and the platforms of their advertisers. Examples:

  • Website and App Interaction: Visits to a website, how sticky it is, the most popular pages, etc.
  • Engaging Social Media: Post likes, shares/replies/views, etc.
  • Engaging Email: Open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, emails forwarded, etc.
  • Service Info: Number of tickets, details of complaints or questions, feedback, and so on.
  • Paid Ad Engagement: Ad conversions, impressions, click-through rate, cost per click, etc.
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Personal Social Media Data

Personal social media data is information about a person that could put their identity at risk. Marketers can’t get too many data points to protect the user’s identity and security. However, they can get to some less-revealing data points. Examples:

Name, address, email address, login names and passwords, Driver’s license or Social Security number, gender, race and ethnicity, employment history, etc.

Social Media Attitudes

Attitudinal social media data is information about how people feel and what they think about things on social media. This data shows how people feel about particular messages, social media content, and other types of information. Examples:

Motivations and problems, user satisfaction, how users feel, how desirable the social network is, what users want, etc.

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Preferences for Social Media

The best way to explain preference data on social media is to show how a user likes or dislikes different activities, ideas, content, etc. Examples:

The political party, religious beliefs, favorite foods, activities, types of movies and TV shows, and sports teams.

What Are the Social Media Platforms Doing With This Information Now?

They sell it to advertisers and other businesses. Your information is mainly used to show you more relevant ads. For instance:

With user information, a clothing company could make ads for male Afro-American users who like the Chicago Bulls basketball team and offer them the home jersey. This is just a simple illustration.

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Many different kinds of information are collected about social media users, but not all of them can be used to make marketing campaigns. With the correct social media data, companies can not only learn more about how their customers behave on social media, but they can also find out more about how their customers (and potential customers) think, feel, and act in different situations.

I think that’s pretty scary.

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Conclusion – Social Media Privacy Issues, Should We Accept It?

So, because we like Social Media, should we just let people use our personal information this way? I say no. There has to be an easier way. And there will be soon. There is a new project out there that will protect both your privacy and your data. It’s called Social, and it will not only treat its users well, but it will also pay the people who make content relatively and won’t change what they make. In other words, the people who make the content are in charge.

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