We don’t expect social media apps to be all that respectful of our privacy and data. By their very natures, they have to gather enough data about us to effectively deliver to us the content that they feel we’ll engage with the most. But some social media apps are just bad with this — others are dismal.
When it comes to protecting your data and retaining as much privacy as possible, while still using social media, these are the four social media apps security experts say you should never download if you want to keep your personal data safe.
According to experts, TikTok features nine trackers that include Facebook analytics. It can track your location and has access to your contacts and camera. According to TikTok, it is: “not unique in the amount of information it collects. In line with industry practices, we collect information that users choose to provide to us and information that helps the app function, operate securely, and improve the user experience. We employ a series of robust controls, safeguards like encryption, and authorization approval protocols to help ensure that data is only accessed by those that need it to allow our business and our service to function.”
Take that with a grain of salt, because several other social media apps are also collecting a lot of data on you.
Instagram is one of the most objectionable when it comes to the amount of data that it collects. In fact, Instagram, which is owned by Meta, has three trackers in Facebook and permission requests that include an audio recorder, location, and even your phone number.
It may seem like Twitter should be much less of a data hog than other social media apps. How much information can they really derive from a post that consists of just a few characters, right? In reality though, Twitter has five trackers and permissions include gaining access to your location, contacts, and camera.
With four tracker and the ability track your location, camera, contacts, phone lock, and SD card, Snapchat may not be the worst of the bunch, but there’s no mistaking: it’s still a data and privacy nightmare.
And, though it didn’t even make the list of worst offenders, never forget the original social media app to kickstart all of these discussions and debates about privacy and data stealing: Facebook.
When possible, avoid downloading the apps you can live without or find other ways of using them, such as via your browser in the case of Facebook. The fewer of these social media apps you use, the less data you’ll put out into the world.