With each passing day, social media plays a great part in our daily lives. Therefore, privacy on these platforms is more important than ever. What you say or do on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn can seriously impact your life for good or bad. Have you ever noticed that the ads you see on these social apps or other sites perfectly match your interest? It can not be a coincidence.
Organizations have found ways to promote their products and even means to violate our privacy. And the most straightforward way is to find out our habits and likes by closely monitoring our social media activities. However, you can enjoy the advantages of social media with few concerns if you have a small dose of caution and little knowledge about it.
There are various ways through which companies can invade your privacy, take benefit of your data and make you the target of their advertisement. Here are the most common privacy concerns that you should watch out for. As we all know, social media is a great way to achieve our personal and professional goals. However, there are many people who also use social media as a means to deceive and cheat others who may have no idea how they use it.
1. Data scraping
This process involves tracking users’ activities online and using their conversation and personal data from job websites, social networks and online forums. Generally, research organizations gather data and sell it to various companies. And these companies use data to create targeted ad campaigns. While these companies make excuses that individuals willingly share their personal data on social platforms, it is free for everyone to use.
However, they do not take the owner’s consent to harvest their data, which raises online privacy problems and ethical issues. Social media is a great place to connect with friends and family. It’s also a great place to share personal and sensitive information. Unfortunately, this is where people start getting into some trouble. There are so many platforms, and so many ways people are using to share personal information, such as photos and videos.
2. Health care violation
The HIPAA( Health Insurance Probability and Accountability Act) is a federal law that states that disclosing patients’ health information without their knowledge or consent is a privacy violation of patients. The HIPAA Act was enacted long before social media, but all its rule are required to comply for health care staff when using social media platforms. However, there is a potential risk that patient privacy and HIPAA rules can be violated over social networks.
In the 2015 report, nurses and other health care staff violated the social media HIPAA rules. They shared pictures and videos of patients in compromising positions, violating patients’ privacy. Training employees about HIPAA social media rules is important to avoid these risks. Moreover, the excessive use of social media in nursing students makes them careless about their studies and turn to different services like nursing essay writing services for their academic essays and assignments.
3. Online impersonation and account hacking
Hackers, spammers and other online criminals focus on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook to carry out cyberattacks. When a hacker has access to your account, he can impersonate you online and gain financial benefits in your name. He can also convince your friends and followers to install malicious software to gain their confidential information.
Cybercriminals mostly commit identity theft for financial gain. For instance, they can create new credit cards in your name and make big purchases, destroying your credit card history. Many hackers gain access to accounts without the owner’s knowledge. Many people came to know when they receive huge bills for things they never bought. The most alarming situation is when criminals gain access to your SSN to steal your social security check and federal tax refund.
4. Facebook leaking personal data
Having a Facebook account is one of the social media sites that everyone uses. But it’s important to know some of the most important things you need to do to keep your personal information safe. For example, if you’re going to send photos or videos from your phone or tablet to someone, be sure they are encrypted first. Facebook is known for leaking users’ information to tracking and advertising companies without users having a clue.
This process starts when you install the app and have to agree with the terms and conditions before using the app. When you click the allow option, the app receives the access token to leak your information to the advertisers. This information includes profile pictures, photos, check-in logs and sometimes private chat conversations. However, no disclaimer is given to users that their data is being shared with third parties, putting your privacy at risk. Family Tree and FarmVille are an example of Facebook apps that are famous for sharing users’ private information.
5. Stalking and harassment
Social media networks are like a blessing for harassers and stalkers. These platforms provide detailed information about what we do and where we go. The more you share on social platforms, the more you are prone to cyberattacks. In recent times, there was an incident where a woman broke up with her boyfriend.
But after the breakup, as an act of revenge, her bf gained access to her social account and posted personal information and private chat about their relationship. He also changed the password so she could not log in. By the time she gains access to her account, all her family, friends and colleagues have seen her private information. It is a horrific nightmare for any person.
6. Online social tracking
7. Privacy violation in location-based services
Mobile devices enable social networks to gain services that are not possible on traditional computers. Social media greatly benefits location-based services and smartphones, increasing potential security threats. Most of the time, mobile devices automatically gather users’ location information. Many examples of individuals being stalked and stolen due to the Geo-location data shared on social platforms.
Privacy protection tips
Here are a few tips to protect your privacy over social media networks.
- Always use a strong password and unique password for each account.
- Do not log in to your social accounts on public devices, or make sure to log out afterwards.
- Beware of suspicious links shared by friends on social media.
- Disable location access for all your social media accounts.
- Utilize two-step authentication for all your social accounts. Many of us have come to realize that social media is not a place to get away from real life. It’s a necessity for modern society. You only have to look at the social media platforms Social media is used by: Justin Bieber, Jay Z, Donald Trump, Florence and the Machine and many more.