Issues Related to Social Media Ethics and Privacy

Due to the daily news of scandals and data breaches, privacy issues are at the forefront. U.S. state and federal governments began banning employees from using TikTok on government-owned devices in late 2022 due to data privacy concerns. Some politicians believe that TikTok might be used by the Chinese government to obtain sensitive information about the U.S. government because the Chinese corporation ByteDance owns the app.

Concerns also exist with data transfers across nations. Regulators from the European Union fined Meta USD $1.3 billion in May 2023. By keeping and transmitting European Facebook users’ personal information to American servers, Meta was found to have violated EU privacy legislation by the European Data Protection Board.

With the increasing popularity of apps like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and TikTok, social media has become ingrained in many people’s daily lives. Sensitive user data may still be in danger despite privacy regulations.

Importance of Social Media Privacy

Sensitive and private information that is accessible through user accounts on social media is included in the privacy policies. Posts and profile information allow users to voluntarily disclose some of this information. Unintentionally leaked information can also come from tracking cookies, which record a user’s online activities, such as webpage views, social media shares, and past purchases. After that, all of the data is compiled and arranged according to user segments, which data brokers then market. Parent, pet owner, and fitness enthusiast are a few examples of these categories. Businesses can utilize these categories to tailor their social media marketing campaigns to individual users.

But scammers and fraudsters also gather this data in order to more easily obtain personal information. The Federal Trade Commission reports that in 2021, over 90,000 people fell victim to social media fraud, losing $770 million in losses.

Common Social Media Privacy Issues

Scammers can obtain enough information from user social media accounts to spy on users, steal identities, and launch frauds. User information may be at danger when utilizing social media due to data protection concerns and gaps in privacy safeguards. Additional privacy concerns related to social media include as follows:

  1. Privacy settings loopholes

Social media firms frequently alter their features and policies, and some of these modifications may result in significant problems with data privacy. 

Posts you make in private groups or with friends, for instance, occasionally have the potential to be shared publicly without your consent. Furthermore, if your friends don’t adhere to the same strict social media privacy policies as you do, anybody could access this information, including employers and scammers.

  1. Data mining for identity theft

Scammers need surprisingly little information to steal your identity. And often, the starting point for identity theft can be publicly available information on social media. 

Scammers can use your name, address, or phone number to target you with phishing scams, or look up more sensitive information about you that’s for sale on the Dark Web. With just your main email address or phone number, scammers can find any leaked passwords, credit card numbers, or even your Social Security number (SSN).

  1. Harassing and Cyber bullying

It is not necessary for social media abusers to have access to someone’s id or accounts to damage or threaten someone. They can do it through social media. That’s what we call cyber bullying. Children who use social media, for example, may get negative feedback from their friends and relatives in the form of offensive remarks.

  1. Location setting

The user’s location may still be tracked by location app settings. There are techniques to target a device’s location even if its location settings are turned off. Websites, cellular towers, and public Wi-Fi can all track the whereabouts of users. Make sure that your GPS location services are disabled at all times, and use a VPN to browse the internet to stay anonymous.

When a user’s location is combined with personal data, a user profile can be accurately filled in. Malicious actors may also utilize this information to locate people in person or obtain further digital habits.

  1. Malware and viruses

Malware that attacks users with advertisements slows down computers, and steals confidential data can be distributed over social networking networks. The social media account is taken over by cybercriminals, who then spread malware to all of the user’s friends and contacts as well as the compromised account.

  1. False Information

On social media, misinformation can go fast. Trolls also aim to incite spirited arguments among other users by playing on their emotions.

Although most social media sites have policies in place for content monitoring, it could take some time for posts to be reported. Verify information twice before posting or accepting anything on social media.

Social Media Privacy Checklist

Ultimately, altering your settings isn’t the only way to remain private on social media. Additionally, you must alter your social media usage.

Here is checklist to keep your privacy secure: 

  • When possible, use two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts and create secure passwords.
  • Don’t use information that is readily available to the public as the answers to your password security questions.
  • Give social media sites just the bare minimum of data needed to establish an account.
  • Avoid giving third-party apps or social networking sites access to your contacts or email accounts whenever you can.
  • Make an email address specifically for your third-party apps and social media accounts. You can quickly set up and maintain “throwaway” email accounts with Aura, which safeguard your primary inbox while granting you access to services. 
  • Before registering and uploading anything, check the privacy policies of each social media platform.
  • Turn off location sharing on all social media platforms, and stay away from utilizing geotagged images.
  • Check your existing privacy settings to ensure that no default public setting has been applied to your account.
  • Acquire the ability to spot online scammer indications.


Social media marketing and privacy will always need to be balanced. There is a greater chance that scammers and hackers will target you the more public your personal information is. 

Use strict privacy settings to keep your accounts safe, and use Aura’s all-inclusive identity theft protection service to shield yourself against con artists.

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