The dawn of the digital age has witnessed an exponential rise in the significance of social media platforms, which have evolved into powerful hubs for information dissemination. Yet, this evolution hasn’t come without its fair share of privacy concerns. As these platforms capitalise on the exploitation of user data, there’s a growing need for regulations to ensure users’ data is safeguarded. This blog aims to shed light on the privacy policies of two social media giants: Meta’s Threads and Twitter, highlighting the nuances and concerns surrounding user data privacy.
Social Media Privacy in the Digital Era
In the contemporary digital landscape, safeguarding user data privacy is paramount. It involves protecting sensitive and personal data that social media platforms collect, store, and process. This data can be voluntarily shared by users or gathered surreptitiously through trackers and cookies. However, privacy on social media is no longer guaranteed, given the increasing consolidation of the largest platforms, leaving users with limited alternatives and more data under the control of a single corporate entity.
Before delving into Threads, let’s understand what Twitter’s data practices entail. Twitter collects and stores a plethora of user information, including purchase history, browsing history linked to user accounts, and ten publicly disclosed data points like precise location, email address, web history, and device ID. Users might understandably be concerned about such extensive data harvesting.
Twitter’s data collection extends to user interactions, device details, and targeted advertising. Concerns arise over the volume of data collected, its use in targeted advertising, sharing with partners and third-party developers, data breaches, and location monitoring. Addressing these privacy concerns is essential to maintain user trust in the digital age.
Threads & Privacy Concerns
Sensitive Personal Data: Threads collects sensitive information, including sexual orientation, ethnicity, biometric data, and more, potentially shared with “service providers” and “analytics partners,” often euphemisms for external advertising and marketing firms.
Employment Information: Third parties can access details about users’ employment, roles, history, and performance reviews.
Health and Fitness Data: Threads may gather information about users’ health, fitness, and exercise habits, which could be shared with external parties.
Online Behaviour: Threads tracks users’ browser history, interactions with web pages, and source information, potentially shared with third parties.
Location Data: Besides IP-based location information, Threads may share images, videos, or recordings of users’ surroundings with third parties.
Lack of Privacy by Design
Deleting a Threads account requires users to also delete their Instagram account, potentially influencing users’ decisions to delete their Threads accounts while keeping their Instagram profiles.
Securing Privacy on Threads
Users concerned about their privacy on Threads can take steps to protect their sensitive information:
Shorten the duration of search history storage in the Account Centre.
Manually clear searches to prevent their use in marketing initiatives.
Avoid synchronising contacts.
Opt out of optional cookies to reduce tracking.
Adjust ad settings to exclude “more relevant” advertising.
Disable Location Tracking for Instagram to prevent Threads from tracking users.
In an era dominated by social media, user data protection is non-negotiable. While users must demand privacy from social media giants, they should also implement best practices to safeguard their data. Threads, Meta’s challenger to Twitter, has raised concerns by introducing privacy issues that place user data at risk. To ensure the safety of personal information, individuals and organisations must stay proactive and engage with experts like Tsaaro, who offer solutions and best practices for data privacy. In a world where user data is increasingly valuable, safeguarding privacy is paramount.
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