Today, there are billions of people who have an active social media account, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or local social media platforms. At least half of them are actively accessing their account and posting something in their account once per week. Whether it is their own thoughts, their current conditions, special events, memorable moments, or any other thing that they post, what they post on their social media platforms will stay there forever. Yes, even though they have deleted it.

The social media servers are always retaining files or posts that are uploaded by their users. There is no going back once your posts get online. They can’t be completely deleted. Yes, they might be deleted from your timeline or feed. But, it will be retained on the servers for a very long time. This is why social media can be a big risk for your online privacy. As a regular user, you need to know what’s in store whenever you use one of the available social media platforms out there. Here’s how social media affects your online privacy and how you can protect it:

1. Social Media Monitors Your Activity Unlike Any Other Services

If you want to know what type of online services that wants to collect the most data from its users, it’s the social media. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, Twitter, or any other social media platforms, they will attempt to monitor the users so obsessively that they might break your online privacy often. Why? That’s because their business revolves around people’s information. In fact, the people that use their services are the product itself.

Social media is selling the promises that the users can connect with anyone in the world by creating a profile there. Then, they encourage users to share their posts to others. Next, the platform will study people’s behaviors and how they interact with each other, what types of posts are popular, their current moods, their problems, and so on. All this data is collected in their servers.

How To Protect Your Privacy: Use social media as little as possible, and, if possible, detach your online life from it altogether.

2. They Are Interested To Know Everything About You

Why do social media platforms want to know everything about you? That’s because you are the product. They want to use the data they’ve collected from you to gain the maximum profits possible for the company. The collected data will then be shared to their advertisers and third parties that are interested to target you in their product promotions or advertisements.

The governments also like to work with social media because they don’t need to do the hard work of profiling you as their subjects.

How To Protect Your Privacy: Only interact with people on social media that you personally know, on an individual basis.

3. The Government Works Closely With Social Media Platforms

The social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will comply to the government’s rules regarding data collection and sharing. Under any circumstances, whenever it is needed, the government can request the social media services to share the data about its users for the purpose of investigation or any other purposes. If the company doesn’t comply to the government’s requests, their business might be at risk.

On the other hand, since social media deals with people directly, it becomes a great partner for the government for studying about their citizens and knowing everything about them with very little work. It might even become the government’s extended surveillance system for the citizens.

How To Protect Your Privacy: Don’t stand out in social media. As a good citizen, try to use the social media responsibly.

4. Your Data Won’t Be Removed Even Though You’ve Removed It

This is what’s risky about social media. Whatever posts or information that you’ve entered in the social media platforms, it won’t be able to be deleted even though you’ve removed it from your timeline. One of the reasons for this is that the companies behind these services needs as many data collected about its users as possible and don’t want it to let go of it. Another reason is that when the data is still being stored in their servers, even though it has been gone from the public, the government can still access the information regarding any individuals even though they’ve removed their tracks on social media.

In this case, it can be really dangerous for your online privacy because your information will always be at the hands of those companies even though you no longer want to share it with others.

How To Protect Your Privacy: Post only good things on social media, whether it is about you or anyone else. This way, you won’t regret anything you’ve posted.

5. Their Tools Are Designed To Study Your Behaviors

Every feature that the social media platforms released for the public is there for the sake of studying their users better. Of course, a small part of the collected data will be used to improve the service itself. But, a great deal of collected data will be used to maximize their profits by selling your information to the interested third parties. Also, every tool that they released, whether in the form of software, web tools, apps, or any others, is designed to study your online behaviors. So, beware of that.

How To Protect Your Privacy: Use VPN whenever you access social media to encrypt all your data transmissions and avoid them from collecting your personal data.

That’s how social media affects your online privacy and how you can protect it. From now on, you should be more responsible in using the social media platforms while trying your best to keep your privacy protected while doing so.