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Social Media: Is it Really Safe?

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Social media platforms are used for communication between users, creating and sharing content, and marketing. Some of these platforms include Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, which are frequently used in our daily lives. As social media use grows, it becomes harder for us to keep our personal information private.

According to Business Insider, some applications, like Facebook and Instagram can actually track your location when you’re using the app. Bailey Davis, 19, states, “When you’re not using the app, I do not think they should be able to see where you are. Anybody can see where you are and where you are going to be. That can easily make you a target.”

According to a survey of more than 1000 Americans ages 18 and older conducted by Rad Campaign, a web agency focusing on “online advocacy and nonprofit tech,” 57 percent of social media users surveyed did not trust any social media platforms with their personal information. Mistrust in social media is becoming increasingly common as we discover more about what happens to our information when we sign up for accounts on certain applications.

 The Guardian reported that when 270,000 Facebook users downloaded an application created by Cambridge Analytica, the application gained access to these users’ information, as well as their Facebook friends’ information. When people discovered this information was being shared, it caused users to become cautious when posting and communicating on the platform. To respond to backlash, Facebook changed its privacy policy by restricting third-party app access and deleting old logs of messages.

Some social media platforms can also detect things you view and search so they can have a consumer demographics for marketing purposes. Media companies gather our information like our name, age, interests, etc, and help match ads that fit our interests based off of this data. Therefore, we are more inclined to click on the ads. This process helps companies improve marketing techniques, learn more about us, and connect us to people with shared similarities.

Nick Burgess, a social media manager for SunTrust in Atlanta explained, “Facebook is taking more information than people thought they were, but I don’t think any of the information is a security risk. What the social media sites stand to gain is that by having more accurate targeting, they can have better results on their sites, which influences the advertisers to spend more money in order to get better results.”

We also often forget about the Terms and Conditions page. We’re so quick to press “Accepts Terms and Conditions,” that we often fail to remember the consequences that come along with not reading it. There are conditions on the Facebook Terms & Conditions that compromise our privacy, even though Facebook has since updated its data policy to make your private information more secure. For example, the Facebook Data Policy explains how Facebook uses user information in a clear and concise way.

Eight hundred million people have downloaded Instagram and one billion and a half use Facebook everyday because social media helps us communicate with friends and family.

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Even though it is common for our information to be used without us knowing, we have the opportunity to provide more knowledge about the subject. We should continue to make an effort to educate ourselves about these privacy concerns, and spread awareness to others. Protect yourself; Social Media can’t always be trusted.


 

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