Social Media Privacy in Canada
15 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2018
Date Written: June 1, 2018
Social media data is a rich source of behavioural data that can reveal how we connect and interact with each other online—in real time and over time. Currently, much of the data collected are used in ways that are not always transparent to users. Once collected, social media data can be shared, sold, and combined with other types of data and analyzed by algorithms to reveal additional, potentially sensitive information about users.
In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, questions around what type of social media data is being collected, how it is used, who is using it, and for what purposes are now more pertinent than ever. Considering 94% of online Canadian adults have at least one social media account , it is critical for policymakers, companies, and developers to understand the public’s perception of privacy with regards to people’s social media data (both user- and system-generated).
This is the second report in the series based on an online survey of 1,500 Canadians. Building on the first report that provides a snapshot of the social media usage trends in Canada, this second report analyzes social media users’ privacy perceptions and expectations.
First, this report identifies online Canadian adults’ privacy experiences, including whether they have personally been the victim of an invasion of privacy on social media and whether they have encountered stories or examples of social media data misuse. The second part of the report outlines online Canadian adults’ privacy settings on nine social media platforms: Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Reddit. The third section of this report describes users’ comfort with the use of their social media data. We differentiate various third parties (such as marketers, academics, and government) and various data types (such as photos, geolocation, and textual posts). Importantly, we only focus on data that is “publicly available,” which refers to data that third parties can access and mine without users’ consent. Finally, the report analyzes the privacy protection behaviours that Canadians employ to protect their privacy, including self-censoring and reviewing their privacy settings on social media.
Keywords: Social Media, Privacy, Canada
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