Social Media Security 101: Why you Need to Protect Your Privacy On Social Media Platforms

Nir Koren Mar 12, 2023 10 min read

Using social media platforms has become as natural as breathing to most of us, but with the increase of data breaches, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are taking the proper precautions to protect your privacy. While it seems that social media and privacy are oxymorons, in this article, we will discuss some basic tips and tricks of things you CAN do to help you surf the social, safely.

What is social media privacy?

Social media privacy refers to the ability of individuals to control exactly who can access their personal information and activity on social media platforms.

Unfortunately, our social media privacy is constantly under attack from corporations, governments, and even other users.  Social media privacy scandals are increasingly common. Whether it’s Facebook sharing your data with Cambridge Analytica or the US government demanding user data from Twitter, it’s hard to keep up with all the ways our privacy is being violated on social media.

How is our social media privacy being violated?

There are a number of ways our social media privacy rights can be violated. For example, our data can be collected without our knowledge or even our consent. It can be shared without our permission or used to target us with ads and other content. We can also be subject to identity theft, cyberbullying, and other forms of online harassment.

To better understand the issue of social media privacy, let’s take a closer look at each of these problems.

1. COLLECTION: Data Collection Without Consent

All day every day data is being collected from us, without our consent. Heres’ how:

a) Cookies

The most common ways that businesses collect data on social media users is through the use of cookies. Cookies are small pieces of code that are placed on your computer when you visit a website. They are used to track your activity on the site and can contain information such as your login information, what pages you have visited, and what products you have viewed.

While cookies are widely considered to be harmless, they can be used to collect sensitive information about you without your consent. Additionally, many social media sites have implemented features that allow them to track your activity across the web, even if you are not logged into their site. This means that they can collect data about your online behavior even if you are not explicitly sharing it with them.

b) Third party apps

Another way that social media companies collect data without your consent is through the use of third-party applications. These are applications that are not developed by the social media company you are using, but rather, by other businesses or individuals. Many of these apps request access to your social media account in order to work properly. This is particularly scary because it actually means that they can access all of the information in your account, including your private messages, photos, and contact list. Worth noting.

The takeaway:

Social media corporations collect data without the consent of users. They do this by tracking user activity and using algorithms to gain insights into user behavior. This practice raises serious concerns about privacy, autonomy, and individual rights as it allows large companies to control how individuals use their own data. While using social media and the web, keep in mind what data could be used with or without your permission.

2. SHARING: The Sharing of Personal Information without Permission

Many of us are guilty of sharing too much information on social media. Who doesn’t post pictures of their kids, pets, homes, and lives without giving a second thought to who might be seeing them? And while we all know that we shouldn’t share personal information like our addresses or phone numbers online, we often do it without thinking or paying attention.

But what happens when someone takes our personal information and shares it without our permission? This is a violation of our social media privacy rights, and it can have serious consequences. Here are just some of them:

a) Identity theft

In some cases, sharing personal information without permission can lead to identity theft. Imagine, someone gets ahold of your Social Security number or bank account information. Within seconds, they can open new accounts in your name and rack up debt that you’ll have to pay off. Yikes!

b) Harassment and stalking

In some cases, sharing personal information without permission can lead to harassment or even stalking. If someone finds your address or phone number online, they can start sending you unwanted messages or showing up at your home uninvited.

The takeaway:

The sharing of personal information without your permission on social media can have serious implications for your privacy and security. You must be aware and take full responsibility for what you are sharing online and who is able to access it in order to protect yourself from the risks outlined above. Before you hit the “share” button on your next social media post, think about who might see it and whether or not you’re comfortable with that. Remember, once something is out there, it’s literally – out there.

3. ADVERTISING: Ads and Content Based on Our Data

Most social media users are unaware of the fact that their data is being used to create targeted ads and content. This lack of awareness is largely due to the fact that social media companies do not make it clear just how they are using our data. However, this does not mean that our privacy rights are not being violated.

Let’s take a look at how these companies are collecting and using our data.

a) Targeted Ads

Social media companies collect a ton of data on their users. This data includes everything from our personal information (such as name, age, gender, location, etc.) to our online activity (such as what we post, who we interact with, what pages we like, etc.). This data is then used to create targeted ads and content.

What are targeted ads you ask? Targeted ads adverts specifically tailored to us based on our interests and demographics. For example, if you are a young man who lives in London and you have been looking at men’s t-shirts online, you may start seeing ads for men’s clothing in the London area. Or, if you have been interacting with a lot of posts about beauty products on social media, you may start seeing more ads for skin and haircare online and in your local shopping area.

So, what’s the problem with that?

The problem with targeted ads is that they invade our privacy by showing us ads that are based on our personal information and online activity. We may not want everyone to know that we are interested in getting t-shirts or skincare, but companies can use this information to send us targeted ads.

b) Content-based targeting

Companies are now using our data to curate the content that they show us in our feeds. This means that we may be seeing posts from certain accounts or about certain topics simply because of demographic. For example, if you are a young woman living in the city, you may start seeing more posts about fashion, entertainment, and beauty products rather than posts about politics or current events, because that is the subject matter of the most interest to your demographic.

 The takeaway:

The use of personal data for targeted ads and content is a controversial issue. On the one hand, it can be beneficial to users as it allows them to access relevant information, on the other it raises questions on privacy. Although social media companies have the right to use our data for targeted ads and content-based targeting, they need to do so responsibly and ethically. They should be transparent about how they are collecting and using our data and give users an opt-out option if they do not want their data used for these purposes. Additionally, these companies should ensure that their algorithms enable you access to a wider range of information than just of that according to your demographic or recent search.

4. BULLYING: Cyberbullying


Online bullying and trolling is the use of social media to harass, threaten, or embarrass someone else. It can take many forms, such as spreading rumors, posting hurtful comments or images, or sending unsolicited messages. Cyberbullying can be extremely harmful to its victims, causing them to feel isolated, anxious, and even suicidal.

The takeaway:

Cyberbullying is a serious violation of social media privacy rights. If you are a victim, it is important to report it to the proper authorities so that action can be taken against the perpetrator.

How to Secure Your Online Presence

So now that you know all about the risks that come with social media usage with regards to privacy breaches, identity theft, and more, here are a few tips on how you can protect your privacy and secure your online presence:

  1. 1. Use strong passwords: A strong password is one that is at least 8 characters long and includes a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessed words like your name or birthday.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to enter a code from your phone or other device in addition to your password.
  3. Adjust your privacy settings: Take advantage of the privacy settings that each social media platform offers. For example, on Facebook you can control who sees your posts and photos by using the “Privacy Shortcuts” feature.
  4. Be selective about what you share: Think carefully about what personal information you share on social media platforms. Consider making your profile private so that only people you know can see your posts.
  5. Keep software up to date: Regularly update the software on your computer and mobile devices to help protect against the latest security threats.
  6. Watch out for scams: Be wary of clickbait articles and links that promise freebies or deals that are too good to be true—these are often scams designed to steal your personal information.
  7. Think before you click: Be cautious about clicking on links in posts or messages, even if they come from people you know. It’s possible for hackers to create fake websites that look real in order to trick people into entering their login information or downloading malware.

What to do If Your data has been compromised

If you suspect that your data has been compromised, the first thing you should do is change your password. If you use the same password on multiple accounts, be sure to change it on all of them. Next, you should scan your computer for malware and viruses. If you find any, delete them immediately. Finally, contact the customer support team of the social media platform you were using and let them know about the situation. They may be able to help you recover your account or take steps to prevent further damage.


Social media security is a topic to understand and take seriously. We hope that our tips have shed some light on the measures you can take to protect your privacy on social media platforms. With a few simple steps, you can make sure that your sensitive information remains secure, and that only those who are supposed to see it do so.