Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

What do you do *in anticipation of* social media privacy concerns and scandals?


Posted on March 27th, by George Veletsianos in emerging technologies. Comments Off on What do you do *in anticipation of* social media privacy concerns and scandals?

Responses to the news relating to the Cambridge Analytica + Facebook scandal have been swift with many vouching to #DeleteFacebook. An extensive collection of resources relating to this scandal are here. Lee Skallerup Bessette calls the fiasco the latest iteration of “guess how safe and secure your data is and how it might be used for nefarious purposes but it’s actually worse than that.”

An Angus Reid poll in Canada shows that 3 out of 4 respondents indicated that they plan on changing the ways they use the platform. How many will actually change their practices and behavior? Rehardless, I wonder what people do when their habits center around mistrusting contemporary digital platforms and their opaque use of our data. In other words, what do you do on an ongoing basis when you anticipate that benevolence isn’t the distinguishing characteristic of social media platforms?

For example, like others, I:

  • purge my historical tweets (because bad actors can easily take them out of context)
  • use authenticator apps
  • use browser extensions that block ads and trackers
  • delete unused online accounts and profiles (unless of course you really still need your ICQ account)
  • rarely connect distinct apps (e.g., google with dropbox)

I’m quite sure I take a number of other, likely unconscious, steps that I’ve picked up over time for privacy’s sake. For instance, after thinking about this for a couple of minutes I remembered that I installed an app on my website that aims to limit brute-force login attempts. And it strikes me that many of the conscious (and unconscious) steps that I take are rarely enabled by the platforms that are thirsty for data: There’s no bulk delete button on Twittter; there’s no “unfollow all the pages I currently follow” on Facebook; and so on.

What steps do you take to minimize the likelihood of your social media data being used in unanticipated ways?





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