Online privacy seems to be a cause for concern especially for anyone planning to use any of the social networking sites today. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram allow you to store your personal and private data with them while we trust it is in a safe and secure place. One has to keep in mind that social media sites are businesses. They mainly exists to take your online activity and turn it into revenue. Most will always be free but there is a cost. You’re paying by being exposed to advertising and allowing limited disclosure of your online activity. So any company that is based on this premise might not be looking to keep your information private.
With that in mind earlier this month it was revealed that back in 2012 Facebook randomly manipulated the news feeds of some 600,00 of its users to see if showing them mostly positive or negative news would affect their emotions. Findings from this mood manipulation experiment clearly showed that people would change their Facebook mood according to the type of news feed they were getting.
Overall, many people were upset just based on the ethical issue of not having informed consent while Facebook claims the that their privacy statement along with their duty to effectively contribute to science were grounds enough to manipulate the mood of their masses.
To help keep you safe using social media below are some steps can we take to protect yourself :
- Check your privacy settings to make sure they are not just set to ‘recommend’ or ‘default’.
- Filter your friends. Facebook, for instance, works overtime to connect you with as many people possible. So ask yourself this: Does everyone you email or have as a contact need to be your Facebook friend?
- Click carefully. One of the biggest dangers, especially on Facebook, are the links that appear on your wall. With one bad click, you could end up on a site that attempts to serve you malware.
- Don’t rely on social media themselves to protect your privacy. Instead, you might want to use the following two questions as guidelines before you post something:
- Who do I want to see what I’m doing?
- And how would I feel if the whole world saw this?
Additional information can be found at the government of Canada website http://www.priv.gc.ca