You may be worried about what Google and Facebook know about you.
First, they know more than you think they do. Next, you sort of consented to it.
If you ever thought social media was violating your privacy, think again. You are your enemy number one on social media. Without reading the fine print, you have consented to dozens of platforms, allowing them to retrieve, store, and benefit from your data.
Simply put, the highest level of privacy invasion happens with your consent.
If you want to know the real impact of this compromise on privacy, here are some examples from Google, Facebook, and Linkedin:
Google knows where you’ve been (secretly too)
Google tracks and stores your location once location services are turned on, on your devices. If you don’t believe it, please click here to see the timeline of the places you have been to since activating Google Location Services on your devices.
Google knows everything you’ve ever searched (and deleted)
Google maintains search history from all the devices you have used. Even if you delete the history on your device immediately after the search, the platform will still retain the search details. See here.
Google has created an ad profile of yours (and sells it back to you)
Google generates an advertisement profile of yours based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, health records, income, and all the key information you have provided on Google. You want to take a peep into your ad profile? Here it is.
Google knows all the apps you use (and even the time that you sleep)
If you think you are out of the purview of Google by using non-Google apps, you are mistaken. Google knows every app and extension you use, how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. It would mean that Google knows who you talk to on Facebook, Skype, Vimeo and so on, what countries are your contacts located in, and even what time you go to sleep and wake up. You want to test it out?
Google has your YouTube history (and knows your relationship status)
If you are a Youtube user, Google keeps track of your YouTube activities and maintains it as a file. Therefore, it knows whether you’re planning to go on a date, preparing to be a parent soon, or preparing for a separation or divorce. Google can also know from your YouTube history whether you are right, left, or centre in your political views, and your religion and sexual orientation. Can’t believe it? See for yourselves.
Google has your WhatsApp exchanges (and knows if you are filthy minded)
If you ever backed up your WhatsApp chats on Google Drive, your data is stored on Google. Therefore, it knows who you communicate with on serious matters and who you merely exchange forwards with. Google also knows, from your WhatsApp chats, what kind of a mindset you have – filthy, if you exchange dirty messages and video clips, humorous if you exchange innocent jokes and so on.
Of course, Facebook knows more than Google in this area because it owns WhatsApp and has unlimited access to WhatsApp data.
The Google data on you runs into millions of pages
If you ever thought I was joking, please try a download of your Google data, which includes bookmarks, emails, contacts, Google Drive files, YouTube videos, photos taken on your devices, the businesses you’ve bought stuff from, the products you’ve bought through Google and more. It will also have data from your calendar, Google Hangouts chats, your location history, the music you listen to, books you’ve bought, details of Google groups you’re a part of, the websites you’ve created, the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day and so on.
It’s an information mine, most of which you have probably never paid attention to.
Facebook has piles of your data too
Facebook is sitting on a mine of your data from the time you joined Facebook – every message, file, photo, and sticker you’ve ever sent, all the contacts on your device, and all the audio clips you’ve ever sent.
Click here to see your data.
Even LinkedIn spies on you (more of professional spying)
LinkedIn too keeps reams of your data. This includes your profile, connections, contacts imported from elsewhere, articles you ever published on LinkedIn, messages you received or sent, invitations, and recommendations.
You can download your LinkedIn data here.
So, what’s the solution?
Don’t remain signed into Google on your devices/computers. Never turn on the location services, never accept pop-ups asking for permissions without reading and understanding it. Google can, still, have access to your email.
Deactivate your Google email address and use only official/company email address. Or create a website with an email client.
Delete Facebook. It doesn’t serve much of a purpose.
Keep LinkedIn. It is harmless, except that it uses the data to sell some learning solutions to you.