Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of users around the world logging in to their favorite networks every day. With this level of usage, the potential for abuse of user data is immense, and the power of social media companies to collect and monetize our data is concerning. As a result, it has become increasingly important to ask the question: are social media companies doing enough to protect user data? From data breaches to targeted ads, there is much to consider when it comes to our privacy and security. It is essential to understand what measures social media companies have in place, and how they can be improved, ensure our data is safe and secure.
Are Social Media Companies It Ever?
No. Social media companies are never too big to fail. The nature of their business (which involves collecting and maintaining data of their users) means that they are heavily dependent on their users (who they do not own), to be successful. If users choose to leave a particular platform, it will automatically lose value, making it more difficult for the company to maintain its position. This makes it very easy for users to jump ship, and as a result, there is no security in the social media industry.
Overview Of Social Media Companies And User Data
As of 2016, Facebook was the most significant source of user data in America, as well as the second-most used social media service overall. Facebook has become essential to both families and businesses because of its features and its ease of use, with users spending 3 billion hours per day on the platform. This high level of usage has caused Facebook to become one of the largest sources of user data in the world.
Twitter is a popular social media network that has been around since 2006. Twitter users can follow individual accounts and create their own, which makes the service ideal for people seeking to stay up-to-date with the latest news, celebrity gossip, and sports scores. Twitter has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more than 300 million users log on every day. This popularity combined with a large number of third-party applications makes Twitter an invaluable source of data.
Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to save certain items and boards onto their profiles, making Pinterest one of the most popular sites in terms of usage and data collection. Pinterest allows people to organize their data to make it more unique or interesting to the user themselves, so it makes sense that each post becomes a potential mine for user data from other users. The website states that only 12% of all pins are public and open for anyone to see; however, this does not mean that your private data is safe from the likes of Pinterest.
Google is one of the biggest names in the world of search, as well as being a major data collector. In 2015, Google generated 1.3 trillion searches per year, all while collecting user data, which they use to customize search results and user profiles through their algorithm. With this level of data collection comes increased risk for user safety and privacy, which can be problematic when the company itself has been accused of not doing enough to protect its users’ privacy or security.
YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms on the Internet today; however, it is also one with a lot of risks in terms of privacy and security for its users. This isn’t so much a problem with YouTube itself but rather with third-party applications that allow you to upload video content directly to your account; these apps connect directly to your account and have access to all data contained within it.
Examples Of Data Breaches Involving Social Media Companies.
1. United Airlines
In 2014, United Airlines came under fire for a data breach in which they were found to have accidentally collected information on large numbers of their customers. Over two million records were leaked online and the company was forced to issue an apology and a promise that it would take measures to protect its customers’ privacy.
2. Target (2013)
LinkedIn has become one of the most popular social media platforms over recent years due to its tight expansion into professional settings; however, the company has recently come under fire for its data security policies. Earlier this year, the company was sued for its failure to disclose its data policies to users before they signed up. This suit featured a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all users who signed up after July 10, 2012. The claim alleges that LinkedIn failed to provide its users with adequate information regarding how it would use its collected data, the security procedures in place, and how they would be stored.
In 2014, it was discovered that the company’s iCloud service had been breached by hackers and that over one hundred thousand Apple IDs were accessed by another unknown party; as a result, several celebrities’ private pictures were posted online without permission.
8. Uber For Hire Data Breach
Uber’s business model is based on getting people where they want to go as cheaply as possible; however, their practice of storing customer information in the cloud has made them potentially vulnerable to hackers who find their systems first and then use these same systems to access other companies’ information. In May of this year, the company discovered that its databases were breached by hackers and that some 57 million people’s data was accessed by those same hackers.
What Measures Do Social Media Companies Take To Protect User Data?
1. Security Standards
In the wake of large-scale data breaches like the Yahoo! breach in 2014, many companies began looking at their security measures. In May of that year, Verizon announced that it would be beginning a new set of guidelines by which companies can prove their security standards. These standards will examine things such as how much personal data is stored in their databases, how easily it is accessed, and what type of processes are in place to ensure that this data does not fall into the wrong hands.
Encryption is becoming a popular way for businesses to protect their customers’ information from unscrupulous individuals and hackers alike; encryption schemes have become so common that individuals have become very used to these features being included in popular apps and software products such as banking portals and app stores. As time progresses, more products will incorporate this feature as a standard safeguard to protect consumers from malicious attackers.
3. Vetting Hirees
In an effort not to repeat past mistakes, the tech industry has focused on finding the best people for each position and on the policies that are in place. For example, Visa is using data breaches to its advantage in screening potential hires by using a new stance known as “privacy by design”. This means that each new hire will undergo intense vetting of their personal information before even being considered for a job.
In response to the flood of data breaches that have been reported over the past few years, schools of all kinds have begun actively tightening up their educational policies and reviewing existing ones to ensure that their students’ most private information remains out of harm’s way. For example, there are now more stringent requirements when it comes to how and where students take notes in class with colored pens; they cannot be used on computers and they cannot be shared with others.
Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of users around the world logging in to their favorite networks every day. With this level of usage, the potential for abuse of user data is immense, and the power of social media companies to collect and monetize our data is concerning. As a result, it has become increasingly important to ask the question: are social media companies doing enough to protect user data? From data breaches to targeted ads, there is much to consider when it comes to our privacy and security. It is essential to understand what measures social media companies have in place, and how they can be improved, to ensure our data is secure.