The Fine Line Between Convenience & Security
Try to solve this riddle: What’s something that many of us use every day, but also offers up tons of sensitive and personal information like your age, birthday, location, personal and professional relationships and more – all publicly?
The answer: your social media profiles.
While you may feel uneasy leaving your house unlocked when you’re away on vacation, leaving your personal information open to the public never seems as bad. Free, personalized services at the cost of your personal data can easily seem worth the trade.
But if you didn’t know already, few things in life are truly free.
Cross-Linking Social Media
The concept of trading something as “trivial” as your personal information for “free” services may seem like a no-brainer. But many forget the security implications that come with sharing “too much with too many.”
When you download an app and connect it to your social media pages, you probably don’t think much about it. In fact, it’s often easier to log in, invite friends, send messages and more through the app if it’s connected to a social media profile.
But Cambridge Analytica co-founder and ex-employee Christopher Wylie recently came forward to reveal how his company unwittingly used a third-party app to collect Facebook user information. This app was the tool they needed to collect your private Facebook data – and up to 160 of your friends’ data too.
In 2014, online users were offered a seemingly irresistible deal. Participants were paid to complete an online survey, only receiving payment after downloading an app called “thisismydigitallife.”
Wylie explained that Cambridge Analytica used the data collected by the app to compile profiles of U.S voters. It was also discovered that these profiles were tied to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In this case, cross-linking social media caused more trouble than it was worth. This massive leak of personal data highlights the importance of a proactive approach when it comes to knowing who already has your information, who is currently collecting it, and who may share it with others.
Read Your Privacy Policies
We get it – privacy policies aren’t exactly page-turners. In fact, more than half of global consumers failed to read, or only skimmed privacy policies when first entering a website in 2016.
Have you ever bought something online, then seen an ad for that store or item appear on your social media feeds? While companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may be monetarily “free,” these sites openly share and sell your information to third-parties they do business with. Most often, these third-party companies use the shared data to create tailored ads and marketing campaigns that align with your personal interests.
What should you do?
By now, you may be ready to ditch social media altogether. But you don’t have to say goodbye to your Facebook and Twitter pages as long as you know the risks of cross-linking social media profiles, as well as how to properly secure the information you provide on them. Visit our Social Media Security Center for more information on how you can better secure your identity via social media platforms.
Facebook App Check
To see which apps are currently accessing your Facebook data, follow these steps:
- Go to your Facebook settings.
- On the left side, click the tab toward the bottom labeled “Apps.” Apps that appear on this page are currently collecting and using your Facebook data.
- Click each app to see the information it is collecting, and manage your settings accordingly.
Use these external links to view popular social media privacy policies:
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.