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         Social Data Privacy

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Social Data Privacy


Social networks should not own our social data. This is because a consensus is needed as an aspect to appreciate an ethical understanding and approach for a situation and correct procedure to be carried out. It is considered that the data gathered by social media, should be of mutual understanding between the individual and the company and the data we leave as our digital footprint should be applied only in procedures that can help create the corporations with the obligatory method to target the customer better.

The data collected should not include personally identifiable details, and the customers should be made aware of all the information the company intends to use. In the current times, the possibility if not using social media or an online networking site is impossible. Social media provides us with effective and profound connections and abilities to participate in global forums and subjects. Social media users should still own the data and any information on the website.

Social media data is developed by individuals who subscribe to the channel or vehicle and has to be entirely owned by the creator with the social media site as basically being a mode of disbursement. The creator’s data should be protected under the obligations of copyright and intellectual rights (Clearinghouse, 2020). In reality, social media sites are using users’ data for their popularity and global presence on the social platform. The moment we become subscribers of any social media site, the details we post on the sites becomes invasive to our privacy. According to a post by Forbes Magazine, companies collect so much data from individual users to the extent of forgetting the ways they surveil us. There are data brokers on the internet who gather data and sell data to certain entities. The shadow brokers buy and sell individual information from the site users, however, we have no right to claim or complain about what the company holds on us.

The data industry is so large that it is impossible to ask any myriad company if they have data on social media users. Social media platforms are silent on the details of what they control and what the user sees on the online site. The sites claim to derail any efforts of terrorism, fraud and hate speech, but on the other hand, they refuse to release details of actually whether those efforts bear fruits or are just plain. In modern society, there is no effective legal framework governing surveillance. Independent researchers usually uncover illegal anti-piracy practices. For instance, Gizmodo, a private entity established that Facebook was mining uploaded user address books to identify non-public addresses to other users (Segal, 2017). When companies collect so much data on in many ways and even lose track of the channels they use to track the users, it raises suspicious questions.

Social media users often encounter invasion of privacy in collecting and using the information when we leave digital footprints on the website. However, social media is built on the principle of shared participation, by providing structures for social interactions. Users often converse and collaborate around the social contents on the websites. Social networks should be restricted to the collection of data meant for network and relationships building within the social network. Social networks use footprints and social data on the website for commercial purposes such as research and analysis for third party advertisements and marketing.  Without the acknowledgement of the owner, manipulation of social data of the users should be regarded as the invasion of privacy.

The social media user should be aware of what they are posting on social media sites and networks and to whom they are connected with (Your digital footprint, 2020). The users should be aware that the comment they post on a blog might be used for other unknown users by the organization or third party entities. Individual users should learn that companies will collate information about individuals and sell it to organizations who want to learn about the clients on what they undertake when they are online. Social media companies are in business with certain organizations for the provision of certain information and details of individual users interacting in a site.

Third-party companies often use the data for promotional and marketing purposes. For instance, corporations such as airlines, political parties, and non-profit entities use the information of individual users to find new products and target users depending on what they interact on the social media platforms (Betancourt, 2010). Financial institutions use individual data for marketing processes and to make lending decisions. For instance, certain products of credit services may be targeted to an individual user related to the information they post on social media sites.

Erica Sandberg proposes certain ways of using social media to prevent the uncertainties of third companies manipulating their data. A user should first determine whether to go public or private on the social network. In the case where the profile is set to be public, the user should want to be consistent with the information to be posted. Whatever information or a post an individual declares public should be reliable and should not make the individual susceptible to any manipulation from other third-party entities (Raywood, 2018). Social media users should eliminate unnecessary alliances, people and sites that aren’t of much importance. People around the user should be reflective and relevant in their associations with the social media user. Social media allows a high level of interactions and may at times accept requests or join conversations without knowledge or investigation of the matter at hand.

It is an invasion of privacy for social media companies to use the information we leave as we deposit digital fingerprints in a certain site and around the web. We often develop a certain portrait when we are online, whether intentional or by mistake. Companies use information from individuals to track their movements around different websites, where the user left digital footprints. There are many instances where individuals leave digital footprints in the online platform. This includes the comments that one leaves on a post, Skype calls, and email records, all part of online history activities. In websites and online services, retailers leave cookies on the user’s system which in return tracks the movement of one from site to site (Leetaru, 2020). The retailers have access to what you have been searching on the online platform through targeted advertisements. On the other hand, when using social media, users leave a substantially large amount of data when posting and leaving comments on a post. Social media sites often introduce new policies and settings that give them the advantage of increasing the visibility of a user’s data. Most social media users just click on the OK button without first reading what the settings have to say.

Social media platforms build a list of different device that a user uses to visit different sites. Often listing the different devices used may be a way of securing the individual accounts, but in the real sense, companies are learning the habits of one. The web is always listening and recording, users should be aware of whatever they leave behind when visiting online platforms. There are two types of digital footprints in the online platform (Law, 2016). They include active digital footprints and passive digital footprints. Passive digital footprints are left actively by users when they are leaving certain sites. Examples include social media comments and posts as well as the filling of online digital forms. On the other hand, passive digital footprints refer to when a user leaves certain information on the website unknowingly. Examples of passive digital footprint include geo-location tools that show one’s location and undisclosed cookies that collect information unknown to the user. Both types of digital footprint track one’s online activities as well as gathering information from systems.

More than 75% of websites today use digital tracking tools and develop eyes on the user’s activities as well as gathering information. An individual’s profile is a feature used by many companies in marketing activities. Additionally, there is no limitation for the manipulation of certain data belonging to an online user which has been retrieved from a profile. We should comprehend that the websites we visit, the services we are interested in and what we spend during our free time can depict much personal information such as relationships, personal financial information and possible health conditions (Reducing your digital footprint…, 2019).  Ads that pop up when we are using a certain social media platform have been tailored in such a manner due to the tracked data retrieved from the user. The possibility of a certain marketer to target an individual should make one more vigilant and assess the possibilities of hackers compromising their activity on an online platform.

It is important to understand the significance of digital footprint and its effects. Once you put something on the internet, it shall remain there for good; “the internet never forgets.” This includes content that may one day derail one’s reputation, develop accountability issues and create vulnerabilities to malicious attacks such as from hackers and crackers (Communication, 2020). The reason is simply that on the internet, information is easily shared and in a faster way. It is impossible to delete all the public records on a social platform. However, online users have the option of staying invincible in their current and new social media accounts. This shall not only make a simple digital footprint but shall protect one’s social privacy.

The first step of protecting social privacy is to review the privacy settings available at a particular site or social media account. As a social media user, I shall need to know the level of privacy set under my account settings. Inclusion of personal information on social networks should be discouraged at all times. Moreover, deleting or reducing personal information from social media prevents forms of privacy-intrusion (How to protect…, 2020). We all have at one time subscribed to an online newsletter or email subscription service from a third party organization, but only utilize a fraction of the newsletters. Unsubscribing from the services that aren’t necessary shall reduce the amount available for personal profiling. Additionally, it is recommended to have a secondary email address specifically for newsletter subscriptions that don’t have much personal information. Covering your email tracks shall protect one’s social privacy.

The use of stealth mode while browsing can be a great deal in protecting the social privacy of an online user. The normal browser settings can have their privacy settings compromised thus arise of privacy issues. Different browsers have private modes, for instance, Chrome browser has the Incognito mode and the Firefox has a Private Window. The use of the internet can be more anonymous by tweaking the privacy settings and configuring them to be in less-tracked modes. The use of restrained browsers can prevent the chances of gathering personal information on one.

The use of a virtual private network (VPN) can be used to conceal the location and the IP address. Installing the VPN is essential for preventing data hacking through the encryption of data and information over the internet. In protecting your social privacy, VPNs prevents social transgression by not prompting the user to surrender certain information for the interest of the providers. Moreover, deleting of unnecessary accounts, for instance, social media platforms substantially removes certain personal details that may be used against one consent.


The possibility of not using any online platform or social network is impossible in today’s times. Individuals create, comment and critic information on the online platform. Such information includes personal information that may be susceptible to manipulation from third-party sites. The continuous use of social media leaves a digital footprint that is also prone to manipulation by organizations. However, individuals can deploy certain measures in protecting their social privacy. The use of stealth browsing and deleting unnecessary accounts can be an informed way of protecting social privacy.















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How to protect yourself and your data online by reducing visibility. (2020). Retrieved 14 May 2020, from

Law, S. (2016). Social Media Privacy | Social Media Marketing. Retrieved 14 May 2020, from

Leetaru, K. (2020). Social Media Companies Collect So Much Data Even They Can’t Remember All The Ways They Surveil Us. Retrieved 14 May 2020, from

Raywood, D. (2018). Top Ten Ways to Reduce Your Digital Footprint. Retrieved 14 May 2020, from

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Segal, S. (2017). The What, Why, and How of Social Media Data. Retrieved 14 May 2020, from

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