We’ve all had to have gone through privacy settings at some point when signing up for a social media platform. Whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, you name it. The list goes on. Now a days, more websites and social platforms are emerging, and as nice as it is to see our digital world, digitizing.. it can be dangerous too.
We’re so used to hearing about Facebook when we talk about privacy settings. Since the website is notorious for being known to stealing your information, and using it to sell to companies for advertising and research purposes. (If you didn’t know about that, you can read more here). I, however, wanted to focus on a different social network that might not come to mind with the topic of privacy. It’s called Snapchat.
We all use it, or will begin to use it eventually. Snapchat is a fun and creative way of sharing what you’re up to with your friends. By sending a photo or video after the time it plays, its gone forever. At least we hope..
When using Snapchat you have the option of only allowing people you know to request you as a friend, and to view your “story”. You can go to the setting, “View my story” and change it to either custom, my friends, or everyone. Unless you’re some famous blogger, I doubt you would like everyone viewing your story. Additionally there is a “contact me” preference, where you can have people respond to your Snapchat stories. This can also be catered to either everyone or your friends. Lastly, a more recent update Snapchat created was the “see my location” feature. This attribute is particularly one of the main ones I want to focus on. On Snapchat if you zoom out with your fingers, you can see exactly where each and every friend you have is located on a real map. Many people don’t know this, but you can also make this feature private and turn on something called, “ghost mode”. This prevents you from being exposed where your exact location is.
In addition, if you head on over to the privacy centre page of your settings in your app, you will see a detailed description of information they collect. The three basic categories of information Snapchat collects are the following:
- Information you choose to give us. (This refers to the information you gave to them when you signed up, such as your birthday, password, email, etc.).
- Information we get when you use our services. (This refers to things like when you watch a live story, it tracks the advertisements you may have viewed. Snapchat also collects information on how you use their services, what filters you use most, and which channels you watch on the discover page. They also collect information from what device you’re using their app from, and even the battery life on your device! Lastly in this section, Snapchat also collects information on the signal strength your device has, your phone number AND your service provider! There’s honestly SO much more in this section, these are just some of the ones I found most interesting. If you want to read more about them, either go to your Snapchat’s Privacy Centre or read about it here).
- Information we collect from Third Parties. (This refers to if you pop up in someone else’s phonebook to add on Snapchat. You’re one of the user’s contacts, Snapchat will combine that information to other information they’ve already collected about you).
These are just some of the privacy features mentioned in the privacy centre. I specifically wanted to bring these to your attention, since we all seem to only pay attention to Facebook collecting our identities. Snapchat, and many more social media platforms are using our information in similar ways as well.
Lastly, here are some tips if you’re a newbie to the game:
- Make sure you actually read what you’re singing up for. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize a lot of my personal information is being collected until I read the Privacy Centre for Snapchat to write this article! I love social media, and I’ve signed up for just about everything without reading about it first. Don’t have regrets, read first before you sign up.
- Be private. Unless you want to become a well-known blogger of some kind, I would set your social media accounts on private. Not everyone knows you that well, and that doesn’t mean they deserve to know about your personal life either.
- Don’t post anything you will regret. Chances are, that Snap you sent to your friend, or a risky message on Facebook is still there. Even though you might delete it, or the five seconds are up on Snapchat. Chances are what you sent is still there, not everything is gone forever. I deactivated my Facebook account a long time ago.. I can still see on Google images of myself that I know I only posted on Facebook. Be mindful of your digital footprint.