Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Once it’s online, it’s there forever (and that’s okay)

Jessica Ramirez

Many social media apps and websites today require personal information to create an account, which may be disclosed to those you interact with on the platform. However, it is worth the risk to disclose potentially sensitive information to social media platforms because that information is no longer private and you are choosing what information to disclose.

While there are limitations to what information you should reveal on social media, these sites are not asking for your social security number or legal identification. Rather, signing up for social media sites often requires potentially sensitive information, such as a phone number or home address. This information is ultimately already out there for anyone to find.

As an Augustana student, you can look through the student directory and find the personal phone number and address of any student. With a little digging, this can also be done through a Google search.

Some social media apps, like Snapchat, require location services for nearby recommendations or to share your location with friends. These settings can be denied or restricted to only while using the app, but it can leave a user wondering whether their information is still available or not.

It is possible to create fake accounts with false information such as names, email addresses or birthdays. This could ultimately lead to the protection of your personal information and privacy, but it would end up defeating the intended purpose of social media — to have a social circle.

This statement is based on the assumption that a person wants to have a social circle, but that could depend on the social media app, whether it’s Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter (X) or Instagram. The motivation behind why we use these social media platforms could play into the amount of privacy we want to maintain.

If you only use social media to seek information, it would not matter if you created a fake profile or not. This option would eliminate the need to compromise sensitive information because it would not be needed.

This is different from using social media as an entertainment or socializing platform. To take snaps, send chats or make Instagram posts, you give up your privacy, and once you enter the social media world, there is no going back to a private life.

There is a sense of security that comes with having a private social media account, but that really only protects you from so much. There are no social media platforms that secure your accounts from being screenshotted or just shown around to others by your friends.

In a technological world, even a lack of social media accounts can not keep you hidden forever. You could be posted on your friend’s page, or even in the background of some stranger’s post. This is a potential invasion of privacy, but it is out of your control.

Social media really does not have privacy. Despite the “safety” of deleting or editing social media content, these actions cannot be undone. Once something has been posted or sent over the internet, it is out there forever.

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