In the current digital era, many individuals maintain a Facebook account, and a similar user base is expected for Instagram, which is now owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook. However, the exposure of these platforms extensively gathering user data has raised concerns about privacy. A recent study by Surfshark has shed light on this data collection practice.
Interestingly, Twitter, another popular social media platform, is found to collect relatively less data compared to its competitors. However, Twitter still engages in data collection, with the purpose of enhancing the user experience.
According to Surfshark’s report, companies owned by Mark Zuckerberg, namely Facebook and Instagram, were found to collect all 32 data points analyzed in the study. This includes personal information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers, which are used to track user activity. Additionally, data like geo-location and browsing content contribute to the creation of user profiles, enabling targeted advertising and services.
One question that arises is whether the collected data is shared with third parties or remains secured on the servers. Although many tech giants claim not to share data, there is a reality where data sharing occurs for analytics and marketing purposes.
In general, social networking and messaging platforms collect various data points, such as email addresses used during sign-up and metadata indicating the creation time of photos or data files. Notably, platforms, excluding Telegram, do not collect specific personal information like political and religious beliefs or health-related data.
Address books, call logs, and SMS history are also collected if users opt to upload, sync, or import such data during sign-up. Furthermore, financial transaction details conducted through the company’s products, like credit or debit card information and CVVs, are collected and safeguarded. Even Twitter engages in this practice, particularly for premium users.
The question then arises: is it prudent to share such critical details?
While companies argue that storing such data streamlines future transactions and allows for targeted advertising, oversharing can lead to issues like information leaks and identity theft, especially in the event of a cyber-attack on the collecting business.
The Surfshark study has brought to light the extensive data collection practices of social media platforms, particularly those owned by Mark Zuckerberg’s companies. It highlights the comprehensive nature of data collection, raising concerns about privacy and the potential risks associated with oversharing personal information.
In conclusion, while data collection is standard practice for social media platforms, the extent and nature of the data being collected should be a cause for concern for users. It is important for individuals to be aware of what data is being collected and how it is being used, as well as the potential risks associated with oversharing personal information on these platforms. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, privacy and data protection will remain key considerations for both users and platform owners.