How Safe Is Your Personal Information Online?


It seems that personal data breaches, leaks, and hacks have become a common occurrence nowadays, with millions of people being affected by them. We have prepared an infographic that highlights major social media websites and messaging services, the type of data they collect, how they use such information, and their previous track record when it comes to data security.

Nowadays, much of our work and everyday activities rely on using online services that require our personal information.
The value of personal information is huge, and companies are continually finding ways to use it to provide better and more customized services, but also to make a profit.

The challenge of keeping all that data safe is a significant one, and despite the vast resources that most tech giants have, their track record has been less-than-stellar when it comes to protecting the data of their users.

What Data Do Social Media Websites and Messaging Services Collect and How Do They Use Them?

According to SocialMediaToday, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day and will continue to grow.

The main drivers of this data explosion are social media platforms, messaging services, and search engines. Take Facebook, the largest social network, as an example. Its 2.5 billion active monthly users generate more than 243k photos every minute.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn all collect personal information and posts, hardware and software information, as well as information on third-party services you are using through your social media accounts. Facebook and Tumblr also collect your payment information.

This information is used to improve the services these companies are offering and to make the platforms more user-friendly and intuitive. More importantly, they use it to generate revenues through targeted advertising and sell personal data to third parties outside their networks.

History of Data Hacks, Leaks, and Breaches

Facebook is one of the main offenders. Infamously, Cambridge Analytica created a quiz that exposed personal data of over 50 million people from the US, which was later used for Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.

During the same year, a Facebook bug exposed personal data of over six million users.

The latest sequel of the Facebook personal data saga was in 2018 when the company admitted to having collected call and message histories of users who used Android devices to access the platform.

Other social media platforms and messaging services are not that different. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google, Viber, Skype, and WhatsApp have all been compromised in the past, causing their users significant damage.

The Bottom Line

Security of personal data and preventing fraud and identity theft are major concerns that users and companies are facing every day. Feel free to check out the infographic we have prepared for more detailed information on how social media sites and messaging services collect and use your data.

About the Author:

Andriana Moskovska is a content curator and contributor at With a passion for tech and marketing and a degree in English Language and Literature, she always manages to deliver well-researched and impeccably written content. When she’s not writing her next piece, you can find her immersed in some of the classics, or planning her next trip.