Social Media Privacy: Beyond the Likes

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Over the past two decades, social media platforms have grown rapidly, enabling users to connect with others, share content, exchange ideas, conduct business transactions, and access news and information. However, as the network has expanded, concerns have arisen about the safety and security of our data. With an estimated 5.3 billion internet users worldwide, accounting for 65.7% of the global population as of October 2023 [1], we must address these concerns and take measures to protect our privacy on social media platforms.

Social media privacy policies

Figure 1: The percentage of U.S. internet users expressing confidence in their privacy settings on social media [2].
Social media privacy pertains to safeguarding individuals’ personal information and having control over the data they share on social media platforms. This includes the right of users to manage their online identities, regulate the visibility of their posts and activities, and protect sensitive information from unauthorized access [3]. On the other hand, social media data policies are rules and guidelines set by social media platforms about how user data is collected, stored, processed, and shared. These policies explain how the platform handles user data, including what types of data are collected, how it’s used, and how user privacy is protected. Users are required to agree to terms of service, privacy agreements, and consent mechanisms when using social media platforms. [4]

What kinds of information are gathered by social media platforms?

When people create and use a social media account, they leave a digital footprint on the internet. Companies use different techniques, such as tracking cookies, geofencing, and cross-site tracking, to gather personal information, interests, and locations from the platform. This includes: [5]
  • Profile information, including name, contact details, and birthdate.
  • Personal identifiers, such as age, race, and gender.
  • Updates on various aspects of life, such as work, personal experiences, and relationships.
  • Social engagement indicators, such as likes, shares, or comments on other users’ posts.
  • Religious affiliations and beliefs.
  • Location specifics, including hometown, check-ins, previous residences, or exact addresses.
  • Personal interests, ranging from purchasing history to interactions on websites.
  • Shared content, such as status updates, photos, and videos.
  • Employment history, including current and past jobs.

The most common social media privacy issues

Cybersecurity threats on social platforms have become increasingly sophisticated, posing significant challenges to the privacy of users [3][6]:
  • Privacy violations: Social platforms may face data breaches, compromising users’ privacy. These breaches can result from inadequate security measures, leading to unauthorized access to or leakage of sensitive information.
  • Phishing attacks: Phishing attacks remain a prevalent threat where cybercriminals create deceptive direct messages (DMs), emails, or websites to trick users into disclosing sensitive information, such as login credentials, bank account details, or personal data.
  • Account hijacking: Account hijacking involves unauthorized access to users’ accounts, often achieved through stolen credentials or exploiting vulnerabilities.
  • Impersonation and Identity Theft: Impersonation on social platforms involves creating fake accounts to imitate legitimate users, organizations, or businesses. This can lead to identity theft, reputational damage, or the spread of misinformation.
  • Malware: Cyber attackers leverage social media platforms to distribute malware, infecting users’ devices and networks. This can occur through malicious links, attachments, or even compromised advertisements, e.g., Giveaways.

Best practices to safeguard your privacy

Here are essential strategies to enhance digital security and safeguard against cybersecurity threats on social platforms [5]:
  • Privacy settings review: To control the visibility of personal information on social media, review and adjust your privacy settings regularly. Limit sharing to trusted contacts, and be cautious about sharing sensitive details publicly.
  • Security audits: Conduct regular security audits on social media accounts to quickly identify and address suspicious activity or unauthorized access. Tools like Eydle can do this automatically, monitoring your accounts 24/7 and streamlining the enhancement of your overall online security.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Use MFA as an extra layer of security, requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification before accessing their account. This adds an extra barrier against unauthorized access.
  • Regular password updates: Change your passwords regularly, and use strong, unique combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid providing easily guessed information, such as birthdays or names.
  • Be skeptical of unsolicited messages: Avoid clicking on suspicious links, downloading attachments from unknown sources, and sharing sensitive information online.

Protect your online presence with Eydle

Safeguard your business from online threats with our cutting-edge social media security services. At Eydle, we specialize in monitoring social media accounts using advanced technologies developed by a team of cybersecurity experts and AI leaders from MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon who ensure a robust defense against fraud. Monitor your social media accounts effectively with Eydle and detect any impersonation by fake accounts. Learn more about our protective measures at or contact us at [email protected].


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Social Media Privacy: Beyond the Likes was originally published in Eydle on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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