Always read the fine print. This is a good rule for life in general, but somehow one that is easy to overlook or skip. When you buy a new phone, sign any kind of agreement or contract, even when you sign up to a new app, there is always some kind of ‘fine print.’ Most of us however, never get around to reading it – which means in essence, we don’t really know or understand the full extent of what we are signing up for, and therefore, what rights we may or may not be inadvertently wavering in the process. This is especially applicable when signing up to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Meta’s suite of companies has had its fair share of scandals based on the leaking of its users’ data, one such notable even was of course the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal which resulted in millions of Facebook users having their personal data collected without their consent with the intention of utilizing this data in order to strategically target voters and manipulating them into voting for a specific politician and party.

This brought to light exactly how much personal data we actually share with the social apps we sign-up for and this is before we start actually creating and sharing personal statuses, images, videos and life events on the apps too. The post-Cambridge-Analytica Facebook is a very different beast with a much more comprehensive privacy and data-sharing policy. This is unsurprising given that it cost Meta, Facebook’s parent company a whopping $725 million to settle the legal action linked to the data breach, granted the company is current worth $772 billion, so in the greater scheme of things, this didn’t exactly ruin the company financially either. Twitter on the other hand, has always been different in this respect. Twitter, now known as X is very liberal on its user data and privacy policies and how much of that it can share based on what its users sign up for. This means that a lot of its users’ demographic data is relatively accessible to third parties.

More recently however, X owner Elon Musk, is looking to make further updates to this policy through the inclusion of users’ biometric data too. Those who have signed up to X Premium can now provide photographic evidence such as a selfie of themselves as part of their ID verification. In addition to this, X may also collect education and employment history data too. This new privacy policy will come into force 29 September. It states: “We may collect and use your personal information (such as your employment history, educational history, employment preferences, skills and abilities, job search activity and engagement, and so on) to recommend potential jobs for you, to share with potential employers when you apply for a job, to enable employers to find potential candidates, and to show you more relevant advertising.”

X aims to provide a more “targeted” experience for its users, with many researchers believe the move is aimed at positioning the app as a direct rival to more than one of its other social media competitors.