If you’re concerned about the amount of information available about you, it may be time to take a break from the online world. Most people these days have multiple social media accounts, but if you’re asking yourself if you really need them all, it might be time to consider deleting some to get some of your privacy back.
From spam and malware to privacy breaches, limiting your social media accounts can reduce your exposure to online threats. Here’s an overview of the main privacy benefits of deleting social media accounts…
1. Limiting the amount of information available about you on the Internet
Although it does not completely guarantee that your data can no longer be collected, deleting your social media accounts can limit the information available about you online. If you’re increasingly concerned about your online privacy, there are some things you should consider before deleting your social media accounts.
For example, you can tell your friends and followers why you’re doing it and what positives you hope it will bring to your life. You may also need to think about technical aspects such as deactivating social media, getting any posts such as photos you’d like to keep, and uninstalling apps.
It’s important to read the fine print when you sign up for a social media account to find out how long your account is still searchable and whether you can view the content you’ve posted online even after you close your account. While companies like Meta provide privacy policies about what happens to your information, there are some things you need to read more closely to make sure that deleting your account means that everything will be deleted forever.
2. Limitations on data collection
Whenever you register on a new social media platform, the platform collects certain data about you. Things like your name, age and email address may seem insignificant, but if they are misused or if a social media platform suffers a privacy breach by fraudsters, your data is exposed to malicious threats.
Social media giants like Meta, which runs Instagram and Facebook, store information about you for their own purposes. Although we may know that they store certain information, it is not always clear how your data is used and to which third parties it is forwarded.
3. Reducing the likelihood of cyberstalking
It’s easy to enter the name of the person you want to find online to find out where they are. Although it may seem like an innocent act, the more information you have about you, the easier it is for stalkers to find you.
Maybe you have an ex who isn’t too into you, or a nasty friend from high school who wants to see where you are. By limiting your social media profiles, you’re not making yourself as accessible.
4. Reducing the risk of spam and hackers
We’ve all received that e-mail telling us about a huge fortune stashed away in some foreign bank account, waiting to be picked up by “next of kin.” If you’re wondering where they got your email from, chances are they’ve collected hundreds of emails from online platforms and used them in the hope that someone will respond and give them their bank account details.
Or there’s the spam tactic of opening a group chat on a social media platform like Twitter and sending a message to dozens of accounts at once. People with public accounts or open inboxes could find themselves caught up in this nasty trend.
With hackers and spammers posing so many threats to our privacy online, it’s always worth checking to see if there are any places online where your data is publicly available. If you know your information isn’t publicly available, it’s time to consider which social media accounts you use and the potential threats these platforms may pose to your online privacy.
5. Reduction of personalized advertising
Many social media platforms show us ads based on our search history. If you went from a site that sells refrigerators to your social network and saw an ad for refrigerators directly in your feed, the algorithm understood that you were looking for a specific product and now has you as a potential customer.
6. Reducing the risk of identity theft and fraud
We’ve all had that friend who frantically texted us not to open an email that was recently sent from one of their social media accounts. If this has happened to you, you know exactly what we’re talking about, and it’s scary to know that your data has been accessed by some identity thief.
You start to wonder what else they have access to. It can take months for a social media platform to understand what happened so they can deal with the threat accordingly. By deleting or limiting your social media accounts, you will be less vulnerable to threats such as identity theft and fraud.
7. Stopping potential employers from tracking
If you’re looking for a job and have posted your qualifications on a site like LinkedIn, there’s nothing stopping potential employers from looking you up on other social networking sites to see who you are in person.
If you don’t want potential employers to know about you on social media, deleting posts or accounts can help you keep some of your information private.
8. Benefit from your “mental” privacy
Whether you’re a content creator or someone who shares a lot on their social platforms, the constant need to share can be exhausting. It can feel like people are always wanting a piece of you, and that can take a toll on your well-being.
By disabling some social media accounts, you can regain some privacy. In other words, you may feel that not everything you do is for the Internet, but for yourself.
With so many potential threats, it’s no wonder people are starting to worry about what social media platforms are doing with their data.
While deleting social media is a good way to make yourself less vulnerable to online threats and privacy breaches, it’s important to investigate whether and how your data was/are being stored. Although social media platforms provide privacy policies on their sites, they are not always clear. That’s why you should learn as much as you can about social platforms before you share your personal information with them.