Why the Lack of Privacy on the Social Media Platforms Should Concern you.
What’s your typical day like? You could have an active lifestyle that requires you to be on your feet- or you might have an office job. Whatever your day looks like, there’s a high probability that you tend to check your social media accounts a few times a day. There are around 3.8 billion social media users, and that number will only increase in the future. The prevalence of social media in our lives isn’t surprising because these platforms changed the face of communication as we knew it. Although the first few social media platforms didn’t quite get their successors’ attention, they still created quite a splash.
But why is Social Media Popular Anyway?
Instant access to information and ease of use make social media platforms popular. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer their users a ton of content in small, bite-sized chunks, so it’s easy to consume the content on these apps now and then throughout the day. On the other hand, platforms like Youtube allow their users to view a ton of new and exciting content that other users create. Combine this user-created content with the algorithm that these platforms use, and you have a constant stream of custom content right to your doorstep.
Social media has helped many people earn a living from the comfort of their homes. Many people have built businesses around their ability to produce engaging content. There is an entire industry built around social media marketing. However, the bulk of the content online comprises regular people who post fun stuff about their day-to-day lives. The lack of privacy on these platforms has concerned many people. Everything that you upload on these platforms is visible to many people. But is this a cause of concern?
Does Online Privacy Matter?
Yes, privacy matters, period. At first glance, this lack of online privacy doesn’t seem to be an issue. Why does it matter that people can see online information on social media accounts? After all, people tend to use these platforms to be ‘social,’ which is where these platforms get their name from. But unfortunately, social media users don’t think about how their online posts can affect them. Although many people make it a point to set their accounts to ‘private’ in their user profile settings, social media users aren’t completely protected by these settings. Facebook, for instance, has been in the media for several privacy violations. Facebook continuously collects user data for marketing purposes, and this is mostly done without the user’s knowledge. This information gets added to a collection of big data. For example, if a person were to like a particular photo or even make a post on a topic related to a product, Facebook would collect that data and use it for marketing purposes.
And your posts aren’t the only things you put online. Every like and comment you leave is out there for the world to see. Online platforms are all connected to the internet, so these comments can’t fade away. Deleting a post or a comment isn’t going to help either cause people can still take a screenshot of it and save them for later use. But social media isn’t the only place that lacks privacy.
Many people tend to store all their images and documents on online cloud storage platforms convenient and valuable. Although these cloud platforms are great for some extra storage space, be aware that everything you upload to the cloud is accessible to super admin users. These users can essentially get backdoor access to a ton of data, including any videos or images that you might have deleted. We tend to forget about these storage areas as we automatically assume that they’re private but bear in mind that no online account is genuinely personal.
Some pictures are pretty sensitive, and they will damage your image if they’re uploaded online, but the photos that most people put on these platforms are pretty harmless. However, it’s essential to take a closer look at what you upload. Some seemingly innocent photos can be pretty dangerous when put on a massive social media platform.
How your Online Profile can be Used Against you.
When a person posts a picture of themselves on their holiday or wants to show their friends and family their new house, they may not think much of uploading these pictures to their social media account. To them, this is just a way of letting their friends and family know where they’ve been, and most people don’t overthink posts like this.
Unfortunately, these social media posts have been used to do hurtful things in the past. Posting a few snaps from your vacation allows burglars in the area to know exactly when you’re out of town. Additionally, a nice photo of your brand new sleek table in your living room could give burglars all the information they need to plan a break-in.
But that’s not all; comments from the past can be held against you in the future. In 2018 a famous director named James Gunn was fired from a popular Marvel film franchise due to some of his controversial older tweets. Although he ended up regaining his job, this is a prime example of how everything you post online can come back to affect you later on. There have also been numerous cases of people being fired due to their online posts.
Many companies have realized that a clean online image is imperative to an excellent social media presence, so a large number of companies will check a candidate’s online history before calling them in for an interview. This means that a person could post a rather unflattering picture of themselves online and be rejected for a job interview a few years later because of that picture. It’s clear that these platforms continuously influence our lives in ways that aren’t always apparent.
So What Can you do About it?
All of us love using social media. Scrolling through posts and checking out what our friends have been up to is a great way to pass some free time. Social media also allows us to stay in touch with friends that live far away, which has been especially important during this pandemic.
So, what’s the takeaway from this article? Do you have to go through your phone and wipe out all your social media accounts? Is that the only way to stay safe in this new digital age?
Well, getting rid of social media may help, but it’s not necessary. The key to ensuring that your privacy is kept intact is to be mindful of everything you’re posting online. Even though social media has many destructive aspects, as the constant breaching of our online privacy, these platforms are also very enjoyable to use. It’s probably not possible to cut out many of these platforms, but knowing about the lack of privacy online can help you be cautious about what you post online.
A Bible verse from the Book of Jeremiah gives keen insight into how we must deal with these platforms, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve. “(Jeremiah 17:10). This verse talks about how your behavior and your deeds affect your experiences in the future, which we can see on social media.
Social media platforms have brought people closer together. Whether these platforms do more harm than good remains to be seen, but for now, keep in mind that your online presence defines you. So, the next time you’re mulling over what picture to post online, remember to be cautious about what you’re putting out there. Once you upload it, this photo will become a permanent part of your online profile.
Author Hans Patrick Domercant Founder and CEO Quadrillion Tech Solutions LLC