In the name of targeted advertising and website management, social media platforms are collecting all kinds of personal user data, according to a report by Clario, a cybersecurity firm.
According to the report that analysed 48 websites, Facebook tops the list of data collectors.
The report also revealed the type of user data such platforms collect from its users. While Tinder uses users’ height, weight and their pets to get them dates, Spotify checks your social media and interests to decide what you listen to. The research found that 93.75% social media firms store your email address for future marketing and 18% know how much you weigh.
Dating apps know a lot more than you think
Dating websites like Tinder and Grindr rank third and fourth on the list of the biggest data gathering websites in the report. While Tinder collects 55.88% of your personal data, Grindr collects 52.94%, revealed the report.
These dating apps gather more than just your basic information like name, email or age. To find ‘the perfect match’ for you, Tinder and Grindr acquire data on your sexual orientation, marital status, height, interests and hobbies.
However, these apps also have surprising data points like your job title, employment status and even if you have a pet. The report stated that Tinder can track all your linked social media platforms and save your chats to generate targeted advertisements and products for you.
Facebook, an obvious top ranker
Social networking websites depend the most on your personal data to curate a perfect experience for you. Facebook, being one of the obvious results, is the number one ranker in gathering your personal data.
Ads are the primary source of revenue for Facebook. It takes about 70.59% of the available information to target particular advertisements to its users. Most of these data like age, sexual orientation, race, employers etc. are what we tend to upload on our profiles. However, Facebook is known to track our activities to customise our profile feed with the help of its algorithm. It offers recommendations of pages and groups that we think we might be interested in.
The social media platform has been under scrutiny due to the rise of misinformation, conspiracy theories and political advertisement users have begun to notice on their feeds due to these recommendations.
Facebook-owned social media platform Instagram ranks second in the data collector’s list. Instagram collects about 58.82% of user data for targeted ads and account recommendations. However, one cannot think of the reason behind an odd finding on the list where Instagram, along with Credit Karma, has data on your weight.
Despite a controversy over data privacy, TikTok ranks 39th on the list with only 14.71% of the available data collected. The only collected data points are email, name, age and country of birth.
How does this affect us?
The collected data from these websites are generally just used to create targeted advertisements, products or recommendations. A company cannot do much beyond using personal data for marketing purposes. Several data privacy regulations and acts ensure the companies cannot compromise your data without facing big fines. For further protection of your data, one can always use cyber security software to secure any information they don’t wish to share with the companies