TikTok / Solen Feyissa / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
How many terms and conditions have you blindly agreed to? Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have gained much popularity in the last decades, gathering a diverse, ever-growing pool of users. However, very few have a complete understanding of the services’ policies.
Despite some concerning user policies set forth on these apps, many scroll past the fine prints of the terms and conditions to jump straight into active use of their services. It is essential to be aware of the services you use and their use of your data, and thankfully, many of these platforms have near-identical user policies.
Here are a few important points you should know about your social media.
Ownership of Content
The saying “never put anything online unless you are comfortable with it being shared” is so very true. Once uploaded, many social media platforms claim absolute, irreversible rights to all of your content. This includes images, videos, comments, and even messages. This can even be sold to third parties without notice or further permission from the user.
Once posted, the content is wholly and permanently owned by the platform.
Deletion of Data
Speaking of permanent archives, let’s take a look at the deletion of your data. Whether it is an embarrassing post from your past or an unhealthy relationship with another user, there are plenty of reasons to erase content and accounts. However, there is a good chance that the data you delete will not immediately be removed. In addition to being stored in a backup system, most posts that other users have further shared will not be deleted with your account.
Social media platforms collect an eerie amount of data, ranging from your name all the way to your location, usage patterns, and apps and services on your devices.
While most platforms will provide a “disable location” option, this can be deceiving. Various methods from cell towers, IP addresses, and more may be used to track your approximate location at all times.
The type of device, apps installed, browser used, keyboards installed, and even battery level can be tracked when using these apps. The general down to the itty bitty details are all collected to form big data.
Interestingly, many social media platforms can track what other tabs you come from, data from other services you use, and data from platforms that use advertisement services it provides.
Social media has been a hub for connection and entertainment, but users need to be mindful of their permanent online archives. Next time, when creating yet another account for Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, consider skimming through their user and privacy policies to protect your secrets.