If something is for free, then you are the product

If something is for free, then you are the product

In light of the new WhatsApp new privacy policy, we thought we would provide our two cents. The saying goes, “If something is for free, then you are the product”. In this case, your data is the product. Social media companies have been acting like Big Brother since their inception. The Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma (2020) opens the eyes of the public to the scary fact that all social media platforms directly target you by watching your every step. This is why you’ll go from messaging a friend about wanting to get fit, to your social media platforms bombarding you with fitness products, apps and videos. This is no coincidence, they’re watching us. But this is nothing new, and it’s actually designed to help you see more relevant advertising. Regardless, people are worriers, so here are some tips to help you deal with these changes:

Get the facts straight

WhatsApp announced that its new privacy policy would share data with Facebook, this includes battery level information, IP address, browser information, mobile network, phone number and the internet service, provider. However, there is no need to panic, or to move to the new, supposedly safer messaging apps such a Signal or Telegram, WhatsApp utilises end-to-end encryption ensuring that only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to what has been sent. According to social media expert and lawyer, Emma Sadlier, WhatsApp can see how frequently you are contacting a certain person, use your location if you’ve allowed, and if you update your status they can use that across their platforms

Educate yourself

Social media is so pervasive, it’s almost unavoidable. But by reading the terms and conditions of use, you will have a better understanding of what exactly you are agreeing to. Increased awareness may just make you feel better. We all know they have all our information already, we just need to know to what extent. Another pro tip is to turn off your location on WhatsApp to avoid targeted advertising with the new policy regulation, says Sadlier.

Don’t be scared

Social media is a fantastic way of connecting people. It can quickly share good news just as well as the bad. It is an easy way for companies and users to have access to products and services they are interested in. We should be grateful for social media and the digital advancements that have allowed us to function in a semi-normal way throughout this pandemic. Social media has acted as a lifeline for many throughout the past year. Despite WhatsApp’s new privacy policy being not that concerning, there are still general privacy concerns that surround social media. However, according to Amnesty International, we cannot fix these ourselves and need leadership and governments to combat the abuse from major tech companies. As for moving forward, we suggest that you use social media and don’t let social media use you. How? Follow us on social media and stay tuned for our next blog.