Social Media Privacy Usage & How It Affects Your Reputation

Social media privacy usage

Over the last several years, social media sites have become a vital tool for connecting, communicating, networking, entertainment, and so much more. What you may not know is that your social media profile has the potential to help but also harm your online reputation. 

Today billions of people use social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and many more. New social networking channels seem to pop up every single day. 

The growth of social media channels has given these social networks a significant pull on people’s influence and access to much of their personal information. 

Data about users’ interests, activities, political beliefs, online shopping habits, and personal behaviors are gathered.

This sensitive, personal data algorithmically produce results that users are most interested in. Targeted advertisements may be among the most common forms of the algorithm’s results, which can be helpful but also a bit alarming. 

The purpose of this article is not to scare you away from using social media, as it is an essential tool, but instead to help you understand the importance of protecting your online reputation and private information. 

Knowing what privacy usage is and what you are entitled to as a user can help you to use the algorithm to your advantage and enable you to protect your privacy. 

This article will focus on what social media privacy entails and step into the privacy policy of the largest social media company in the world, Meta. 

What is Privacy?

Privacy can mean a few different things depending on the context. Information privacy is the right to control your personal information and how that is collected and shared. 

If you start a conversation about privacy, you will probably hear arguments from others about what should and should not be considered private, especially regarding social media and internet use. 

Various countries and cultures have differing views on what data should and should not be collected, what people’s rights are with their data, and how privacy should be regulated. 

As technology continues to evolve and becomes more complex, so does data. That’s why it is essential to read over the privacy usage when creating a new social media account. 

Also, be sure not to disregard your emails from Facebook and Instagram saying, ‘we’ve updated our privacy policy.’ 

It may be tedious to read and filled with jargon, but knowing this information and the rights to your privacy could save you from harm in the long run. 

Meta Privacy Usage

A picture of a lock and credit cards, representing privacy usage.

Instagram and Facebook are both owned by the same company, Meta. Recently Meta updated their privacy policy (previously known as data policy) to make it more user-friendly and easy to understand. 

These social media channels fall into the top 5 most popular social media apps. Facebook ranks number one globally with 2.9 billion users, and Instagram ranks number four with 2 billion users. 

With the popularity of each of these apps, it’s essential to know what they can do with your data and what information you should refrain from posting or uploading.

Meta collects data and information based on how you use their product. They will collect data differently if you buy and sell on Facebook Marketplace versus creating and posting a reel on Instagram or any other way you choose to interact with their apps. 

It’s also important to note that their privacy policy says they may be collecting data even if you don’t have an account. 

That may seem alarming, but they collect data if you watch a video on your browser that was posted on Facebook or if you have their apps downloaded, but you don’t have an account. 

The company is clear and transparent about why they collect data and information while using their products, no matter how you use them. 

Examples Of Why Meta Collects Data Even If You Don’t Have An Account

The first and one of the biggest reasons why Meta collects user data for those without an account is to protect the security and privacy of their apps if they notice that someone is trying to load too many pages and scrape their site. 

Scraping is the automated collection of data that can be authorized or unauthorized. If it is unauthorized, it is against Meta’s terms of service and can potentially harm or affect its apps.

Collecting data warns Meta about the suspicious activity before something worse happens, enabling them to track and take care of the problem before disaster strikes. 

The next reason data is collected is for safety and integrity. If someone without a Facebook account joins a Messenger group chat and begins sharing harmful content, then Meta can track and interfere with the content that violates their terms of use. 

This enables them to track and ensure that harmful content is not shared or that if someone is at risk, Meta can share information with local law enforcement. 

The third reason Meta collects data for those without an account is for advertising purposes. Meta may place ads for their products in other apps you are using if they do not recognize you as having an existing social media account. 

The last reason is for performance purposes. This allows Meta to track data about who is using their apps and test the speed of loading data in other countries for those without an account so they can fix and improve their apps. 

The Information Meta Collects From Your Profile 

Meta’s privacy policy mentions four types of information they collect from each user with an account. 

This includes the content you create, the content you interact with and how, messages, content provided through your camera roll, other apps you use and how you interact with them, what you purchase, and the duration and frequency you are on one of the apps.

A picture of Meta’s logo for their company.

The second type of information collected is your friends, followers, and other connections. Meta collects data about who you are connected with. 

This included information such as who you interact with across various platforms and who you interact with the most. 

Across their various platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and WhatsApp, your user activity is tracked. This is the first of the four types of information Meta collects.

If you choose to sync your contacts, they also know your contact’s names, phone numbers, and email addresses; it’s like synching an address book. 

This information also helps Meta to infer things based on others’ activities. For instance, suggesting a friend for you to add on Facebook based on a mutual connection you may both have in common from an uploaded contact list. 

The third type of information that Meta collects from users is information from and about the different devices you use and how you use them. 

This part of the data collection process is a bit more technical. Still, they gather information from your device software, what you’re doing on your device, identifiers that tell your device apart from others, information shared through your device settings, information about your network connection, and more. 

The last bout of information that Meta collects is data from partners, vendors, and third parties. This includes your device information, apps you use, cookies enabled, games you play, transactions you make, your demographics, and what ads you get and how you interact with them. 

This information is used to help Meta match your activities with your account, which helps to track advertisement usage and provide targeted advertising. 

What happens if you don’t want Meta to collect all this data? There are certain parts of the privacy that you can’t turn off because it’s what allows their products to function. However, other parts are optional, but Meta warns this may affect your user experience. 

How Does Privacy Usage Affect My Reputation?

As mentioned above, knowing your privacy rights while using your phone and social media apps is essential. This can help you the most when you run into trouble with your reputation. 

If you search your name or company’s name and notice that personal information or negative news is spreading, you may wonder where that information is coming from. 

One of the first things you should check is your privacy settings on social media. From the information that Meta collects, a lot can be spread on the internet. If you notice that someone or a specific group breached your privacy, this can help you combat negativity surrounding your reputation. 

At BRANDefenders, we are experts at helping you combat negativity and rank positive content for your brand or your company. We think that reputation is essential and that one of the first steps to fighting reputation damage is knowing your online privacy rights. 

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