Are the apps you’re using really safe? When it comes to things like personal data the simple answer is no. Many of your favorite apps collect and share a pretty hefty portion of your private information with third parties.
This isn’t nearly as nefarious as it sounds. Usually apps collect data for marketing purposes, not just to be pure evil or steal your personal identity. However, it’s still a good idea to be aware and proactive with your digital privacy.
Here are the top five offending apps in terms of personal privacy.
Facebook lets you adjust your privacy settings at any time. Head to your Facebook profile, select Settings & Privacy, tap Settings, and select Privacy on the left side to make changes. You can manage things like the audience in which you wish to share, feed preferences, and ad preferences.
Whether or not you are aware of it, as an Instagram user your personal information is used for targeted ads. It’s worth noting that it’s not just on Instagram but the Facebook platform as a whole. You can’t fully stop all data from being collected but there are a couple of steps that you can take.
Instagram makes it easy and convenient to tag your location to your posts. All you have to do is grant them access to your location. It’s a great way to get more followers but also a great way to have more targeted ads flung your way. Giving Instagram access to your location allows not just Instagram but Facebook to use your location for marketing purposes.
The best way to keep this from happening is to turn off your app’s access to GPS. This is easy to do and you can quickly switch it back on at anytime. If you’re not quite sure how to do this, just go into your iPhone’s Settings, then Privacy, then Location Services, then Instagram, and select Never.
This one is a little different because TikTok is a China-based video-sharing app. A large portion of TikTok’s user base is children. It’s a bit of a hot button issue since they collect personal information of children under 13 without getting parental consent.
TikTok has also been accused of data harvesting. The way TikTok collects data is a bit different than Instagram and Facebook. TikTok has the ability to collect user data using contact lists, calendar access, and it can even geolocate devices.
First thing you should do, if you haven’t already is go into TikTok’s settings. From there you’re able to view your privacy options.
LinkedIn is a fantastic way to share your resume with the world. It also leaves you open to phishing attacks, aggressive pitches, or even the possibility of your current employer finding out you might be job hunting.
Protect yourself by adjusting your visibility settings. Every time you view someone’s profile, LinkedIn lets them know you were there.
The number one thing you need to do if you’re a LinkedIn user is adjust your profile viewing settings to private mode. In case you don’t know where to find it, this link will help. Private mode hides your activity on the network and helps you stay anonymous when you visit other users’ profiles.
You can also take some extra steps by turning off things like syncing contacts, sharing profile updates, and removing your birthday.
Is your weather app selling you out? Obviously weather apps use your location to give you the most up-to-date and accurate weather forecast. Most people often pay little attention to weather apps when it comes to app security.
It’s completely understandable and actually quite necessary to allow the app to have access to your location in order to tell you what the weather will be like throughout the day. But did you know that your weather app could be tracking your location when you aren’t using it and possibly selling your data to third parties?
All you have to do is adjust the settings on your weather apps so they can’t track your location if you aren’t using the app. It’s a quick and easy way to make sure no funny business is going on.
What You Can Do About It
Everything is going to track you to some extent but how much is up to you. You don’t need to sell all your possessions and go completely off the grid just yet. Be proactive and update your software on a regular basis. Updates don’t just fix bugs, they fix security vulnerabilities.
What privacy or security worries keep you up at night? Drop a comment below and don’t forget to share this information with your friends.