To Join Threads, Anticipate These Potential Risks on Your User Data

Meta recently launched a new text-based app that is intrinsically connected to Instagram. Meta is a social media platform in competition with Twitter. Threads already have over 100 million registered users. Users are unaware of sharing their data by third parties, which Meta claims is not under their control.

Threads have enabled third-party services to access user online habits and location as aspects of data collection, over which Meta has no control, unlike its other applications such as Instagram, Facebook, and others. Users are clueless about how their data exploitation and where it ends up.

It gets more unnerving. The general privacy policy is applicable across Meta Products, mentioning an array of what is collected. These include accessing cameras, unencrypted messages, user interaction with website ads and content, and their screen time on apps. As though that does not infringe on user privacy enough, they have access to device details, including the users' device battery percentage and signal strength.

However, like other products by different companies, Meta accesses proximate locations by collecting their users' IP addresses regardless of location service status. But Threads also has access to personal demographics — race, ethnicity, pregnancy state, education status, health information, and loosely defined sensitive or classified data, and according to the policies constructed by Apple, those are religious or philosophical beliefs. Meta also collects credit card numbers and transaction details for online purchases, along with shipping, billing, contract details, and the product the user purchases.

This is highly concerning, as confirmed in a CBS report by a cybersecurity expert from Drexel University, who claimed that the guidelines did not protect users' data. Such breach of personal privacy data can be as invasive as the events of a Nebraska woman charged with aiding her daughter to receive an abortion upon evidence shared by Meta.

And this extent of data collection is just the tip of the iceberg. Users can only delete their Threads account by deleting their Instagram profile. But what is essential to consider is Threads’ supplemental privacy policy which further collects profile information, users’ interaction with the app and the content they upload, and their engagement with other communities and people. The third parties control this integration, which is beyond Meta’s control. This means they can send off personal user data to various companies and investors, all unbeknownst to the user.

Although users can delete their information within Instagram settings and control their privacy settings, that does not guarantee their safety from private data scraping. Meta further claimed to Insider that their privacy policies are similar across all their apps. They only collect data shared with them according to the types mentioned in the App Store, and users can share various types of data. They also suggested reviewing Threads' supplementary privacy policy on data collection.

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