What Social Media does with your data? How can you trick it?
It’s an open secret today that technology has changed the way that we live our lives. Social media runs deep into people’s social lives. We use it to connect with people at far-off distances, share messages with friends, and announce occasional stories from our lives.
Many business platforms use social media networks to collaborate with their customers and even run their entire business through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Employers and schools are rapidly using social media to reach out to potential employees and students as well. Linkedin is a good example.
Thus, citizens of developed countries like America, Canada, Australia etc rely heavily on social media for their daily tasks and activities and almost the same is the case with developing countries where fast internet is available. But every good thing comes with a price someone has to pay. Emerging technology can predict our personalities and essentially know more about us than our friends and family do.
Online social tracking is a significant concern today. Your online shopping trails and social media interests can be easily tracked, and your internet privacy can also be effortlessly invaded. Some social websites allow companies to place pieces of software within ads and cookies that can easily gather information about the things you do online.
The best and simplest way to guard your privacy online is to use a VPN. A reliable VPN would give you the required online privacy and anonymity by creating a secured, private network from any Internet connection you access, whether it is your home Wi-Fi or a public Wi-Fi spot. It’s better to take a thorough look at multiple VPN features to get familiar with the best VPNs available to maximize your security and safety online before getting to know more about the social media threats and how to trick them.
An Insecure Global Village?
In today’s advanced world, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other big companies can collect data and quite easily. Media platforms allow users to create media accounts to provide behavioral and demographic data. This data can be collected from the online activities through your devices. Big data companies and scientists then compile this data and build personas about you to determine your age, gender, your likes and dislikes, and many more related things.
Essentially, companies are creating computer-based personalities based on a database collected from your devices that might provide more information on you than your close acquaintances.
On Instagram, hashtag usage and engagement rates are included in the raw data. Once this information is mined, you can begin marking trends, measuring engagement, and drawing insights to help you accurately and efficiently keep up with the marketing goals.
Advertisements and User Experience
Google collects data on the videos you watch, the ads you click, your location, device information, IP address, and cookie data. It also keeps your name, email address, birthday, gender, phone number, and country information.
But the irony, Google doesn’t shy away from letting its users know what data it collects and why. Google’s privacy page explains that it tracks things you create, such as emails, contacts you add, calendar events, and photos you upload, and according to them, this is to make its services work better for you, which is somewhat true.
Google also promises that it keeps all of this data safe during transit between your computer or smartphone and its servers. It also says that it doesn’t sell your data but instead uses your information to “make ads relevant” while browsing the web and doesn’t hand over any of this information to advertisers. Techninjapro writes more on Data Security.
Your Social Media Remembers You
Both Google and Facebook aim to deliver a personalized experience to every user. That’s why when you run a new Google search while logged in, the site will remember your search history and what fields you’ve clicked on in the past. The same goes for Facebook, as users’ timelines are filled with content they’ve previously liked or followed.
Where a VPN comes in
After knowing all the risks involved with social media, if you are eager to be anonymous while using Google and other social media platforms like Facebook, and you aren’t ready to deactivate any of them then you should take a look into a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN keeps your internet traffic completely anonymous and keeps your data encrypted through 256-bit tunnel encryption. This encryption is one way of protecting personal data, not to be read by anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key. As a result, this blocks any unauthorized attempts by companies, hackers, or other threats that try to access that data.
Your Government can ask for you Anytime.
When you create an account on Google or Facebook, you get vulnerable to certain levels of risks. Your username is tied to every action and click you perform on these sites, and it’s essential to keep in mind that the companies who own the back-end systems can access this information at any time.
The concern comes in where your National Government wants to get involved. Many developed countries like Canada, USA, UK, Australia, NewZealand etc have legislation to dictate when a government agency can seize data from an internet company. In most cases, the request has to come about from a matter of national security.
For example, suppose your Government believes that some suspicious activities have been communicated over a channel owned by Google or Facebook. In that case, they can request the company to turn over records from a specific user, time, or range of IP addresses. The company does not need to notify you if your information is included in what they collect.
Be Secure with a VPN and more.
Getting a premium VPN will mask you from each and everything online. Not only would it help to protect you from hackers and cybercriminals, but it also makes it harder to track online. A VPN client issues a new IP address each time you launch a connection. Google and Facebook can still track your activity while logged in, but they will have a more challenging time identifying your geographic location.
In addition to using a VPN to protect your online activity, always make sure you visit secure websites. HTTPS browsing adds an extra layer of security using encryption within the browser.
By enabling your private browsing mode, you can block the standard data collecting features built into most browsers. This includes things like cookies, search history, and stored account log-in credentials.