Social media has become the main channel for many of our day-to-day activities. Through these platforms, we’re able to connect with friends & family, participate in global conversations, engage with companies, stay up to date on the latest news, shop, and more. Because of its all-in-one capabilities, social media has become heavily ingrained in our lives. Unfortunately, this increasing dependence can prevent many users from acting on privacy & security concerns surrounding these platforms.
Serial Social Media Users
A recent study showed there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide. On average, people are spending 3 hours a day on these platforms. That’s 3 hours of scrolling, reading, posting, sharing, etc. If we’re being honest, we’ve all probably experienced one of those time-consuming rabbit holes where you look up from your device and realize over an hour has gone by. Social media is designed to be addictive.
Social media is one of the most obvious places we see privacy paradoxes at play – that being inconsistencies between people’s concerns and behavior regarding privacy. A Pew Research survey found that only 9% of U.S adults/tech users were ‘very confident’ in the ability of social media sites to protect their data. Another survey found “80% of those who use social networking sites say they are concerned about third parties like advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on these sites.” These and many other privacy & security concerns aren’t uncommon; yet, social media platforms continue to see a rise in active users. Whether it’s for social connection, to satisfy our boredom, or for some other reason, we continually sacrifice our privacy for these services.
Steps You Can Take
The information we share on social media is valuable to more than just the friends & family we think we’re sharing it with. Malicious actors, search engines, data aggregators, and even the social networks themselves, are collecting and using this data for a variety of reasons. Six-in-ten Americans (61%) have said they would like to do more to protect their privacy online. However, completely cleansing ourselves of social media may be a big leap. Luckily, there are less drastic steps you can take to better protect your privacy on social media platforms.
- Update your privacy settings and recheck them often. We will be covering how to adjust these settings in our upcoming posts. Stay tuned!
- Be cautious of shortened links and pop-up windows.
- Consider the kind of information you’re sharing and making public.
- Make your social media profiles private when possible and only accept connection requests from people you know.
- Log out of your accounts when you aren’t actively using them to help limit additional web tracking.