Our personal data is very important for us and for our identity. That’s why we need to protect it carefully. Bozhidat Spirovski shared some advices about how better to protect our data during the event „Be selfish with your data“, organized by the foundation Metamorphosis that was held in the scope of the initiative “Privacy talks”. He is an engineer with 20 years of experience and he manages different technical and informational security teams.
In regards with the privacy policies of the social media networks, he says that even though they are presented that they are aimed to protect the users; in fact, they aren’t doing that. These policies only serve the companies who own the applications to make sure that the application users are only informed about how the companies work. The content of these policies is very hard to read, containing a lot of legal jargon and often very long, and many users aren’t informed with anything new after they read it.
A lot of the money that the companies that own the social media networks make come from commercials that are usually shown on the site. These commercials have attractive content that make us stay longer on the site because they constantly change. The more commercials are shown, the companies make more money. To ensure that the user stays longer on the site, the companies also use emotional content that makes us leave more “likes” and comments that additionally make more money for the owners.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the term „doomscrolling” came in fashion, which is connected with the longer time we were spending online, usually on social media platforms. This is certified with the fact that in 2020 the Oxford English Dictionary named it a word of the year.„Doomscrolling” also affects the mental health of the users. The term means taking in a lot of negative energy and causing negative thoughts, most often due to the fake news online and our exposure to negative content that can make us feel hurt, depressed, sad and fearful from different things (Source).
Spirovski in one of his advices suggested for us to use browsers that don’t use and collect our data, but respect the safety of the users. Instead of using Chrome to use FireFox, Opera or Brave, or browsers such as DuckDuckGo or Qwant that respect the user’s privacy. Also for added protection, he suggests we install extensions such as Ublock Origin, Privacy Badger and DuckDuckGo privacy essentials. It’s also important to be careful to which applications we allow access to our cameras, microphones, etc. Some of the application, which we grant access, try to collect a lot of data about our behavior, our talks and conversations, the things we read or watch online, etc. (Source).
The popular social networks like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok collect a lot of personal data that they later sell for marketing or to different campaigns. They constantly sell this data to the extent that the public detects these instances and they need to apologize and defend themselves publicly, just so, they can continue to do the same thing in new and more creative ways.
In the end, Spirovski pointed out that we should also be careful with the “follows” we get on the social networks as well as the “likes” we leave, because these are not worth much, but they show a lot about us and our lives to the public.
Author: D. Bozhik (9-6)
The original article is published in the school online digital newspaper L.A. IN-fortmator