Is your information private private on Facebook and will it ever be?

Do you believe that the personal information you share online is no longer safe? A deal between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica proves that the information you share online might get into the wrong hands. Reportedly, Cambridge Analytica used the data, which it collected without authorization early in 2014, to make a software program that predicted and influenced choices at the United States’ ballot box. Revelation that the company mined the data of Facebook users and sold it to politicians seeking to influence the behavior of voters had wider ranging implications in Britain and the United States, and for Facebook.

Why your data is not truly private on social media sites

The information you share on Facebook and other sites is vulnerable to harvesting, hacking, being leaked and being sold by companies – in case, the company profits by selling personal data. In fact, today data miners are using bots to sidestep the tightened Instagram and Facebook policies and to gather as much personal data as possible.

There is no real solution to the problem. The world is already digitized and people are relying on social media platforms for professional connections and social interactions. Even more, information security implementation and legislations have not kept step. If you want to safeguard your personal data, you should always proceed with caution.

The following tips should help you protect your private information on social media sites:

1. Always read the sites privacy policies

Before you engage in business with any company online, read the privacy policies. In other words, understand the policies before you click on the “I Accept” button. The information contained in the page might shock you. If you find something within the page that you do not like, weigh the need for their services versus the threats they impose on your privacy.

2. Never share information that you would want to keep private

You already know that some nude photos that people post online are a great problem, particularly when it comes to job interviews. However, apart from remaining cautious about what you post, you should also mind about what you like, share or comment on blog posts, forums or social media platforms. The details you provide might get into the wrong hands.

3. Provide the least information possible

Mostly, especially when buying products from e-commerce stores, you are required to provide personal information. For example, you might need to provide your personal email address. For your safety, you have to question every company that asks for your personal details. Provide them with the least amount of information and if possible, do not provide any. Ask yourself why they need the information.

4. Lobby for change

When hacks or scandals happen, it does not take long before the initial uproar starts fading. But if you need real change, companies must be held accountable and legislation has to be made. In other words, if you care about this issue, you should start signing petitions, contacting politicians and pushing for changes in the digital world.

The bottom line

Every personal detail you share online is vulnerable. After all, technology might not be effective at preventing hacking, stealing and leaking of data. To protect yourself, you have to become an informed user. Think about the information you are about to share. That way, you will avoid future problems.

The logo for the company Cambridge Analytica