We all use various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to name just a few. When we initially signed up all those years ago we signed up with a purpose and an expectation about what information we were happy to share with these companies and how that data was likely to be used. We may not have read all the pages and pages of terms and conditions but all in all we got what we wanted. Access to share content with our friends, family and colleagues in a quick, simple and easy to use way on any device we choose.
The platforms that we use have changed over the past 5 years and so has the direction of many of these social media companies. They quickly realized that the data about you was and still is one of their most valuable assets. So much so that they are now starting to close the doors on third parties accessing this data without paying for it. Companies now have to pay to advertise to you where in the early days anyone with a Facebook page or Twitter account could do that. But what does this all mean for you and your data?
Put simply your data is now a commodity. Something that can be bought, exchanged and sold. But that is my digital life I hear you say! Indeed it is, and you should be able to control who has access to your data and how. All the social networks have privacy settings, almost every time terms and conditions change there is a change to the privacy settings and how these work across your data.
When did you last check your privacy settings? An important question that many of us don’t necessarily know the answer to. Quickly log into your social networks and check your privacy settings. Tighten up the security and review which apps and services have access to your data along with which people can view it.
You may also want to do an audit of who you have on your contacts lists at the same time. There is no point having contacts accessing your data that aren’t of any interest to you. They flood your timelines with irrelevant updates and cut the usefulness of the services.
Auditing your social media platforms isn’t just something that business users of social networks should do, it is something that we all need to do to make sure we aren’t vulnerable to identity theft at worst or naïvely giving away too much of our personal information at best.
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