These social media apps are the worst when it comes to privacy
As long as you have an internet connection, your privacy is always at risk. All apps and services track you to some degree, and some play fast and loose with your data. Here are the most invasive applications.
It’s no secret that social media companies track almost everything you do, but who are the worst offenders? Check out the full report below.
The worst is the worst
Cybersecurity research firm Internet 2.0 has published a study on which social media companies collect the most data. The company used Malcore, an automated analysis tool that examines files and programs to detect malware and assess risk.
Some of the platforms on this list are not available in the US or are not as popular here as in other countries. So we’ve rounded up the top five heavy hitters that you probably recognize, even if you don’t use them.
The score is based on several factors, such as dangerous permissions, trackers, and code analysis results. These are in-depth investigations and usually go beyond normal tracking and permission requests, such as browsing history, clicks and online shopping cart contents.
Each factor adds a certain amount of points, and the total score is added up to a final score (these numbers are not on a scale of 1 to 100). The higher the score, the worse an app is in terms of privacy.
Here are the apps in order from highest risk score to lowest:
- TikTok (63.1): As social media’s worst offender, TikTok has nine trackers including Facebook sharing, analytics and check-ins. Dangerous permission requests include location, read, write, and access to network, camera, and contacts.
- Instagram (34,55): Instagram has three trackers in Facebook’s ecosystem and received several dangerous permission requests, including location, voice recorder, phone number, and the ability to write to an SD card.
- Twitter (34.4): Twitter had five trackers and owes its score to many dangerous permissions, such as blocking location, camera, contacts, and phone sleep.
- Snapchat (34,25): Snapchat had four trackers and many dangerous permissions. This includes access to your location, camera, phone lock, contacts and SD card.
- LinkedIn (34.15): LinkedIn matched TikTok with nine trackers, but the least dangerous permission requests in the top five, with access to your calendar, SD card, contacts, and network status. A permission can also prevent the phone from sleeping.
The average industry score was 28.8, while the average social media app score was 34 (nearly double TikTok’s score in this category).
Take back your privacy
Fortunately, your phone has some settings that limit how these apps can track you.
iOS privacy settings
- Go Settings > Privacy & Security > Location. You can turn off global location or tap an app in the list below to change custom settings.
- Go Settings > Privacy & Security > Trackingand check it Allow apps to track switched off. This will automatically deny any new application tracking requests.
- Go Settings > Privacy & Security > Contacts and slide the switch to the left next to the apps you don’t want to access your contacts.
- Go Settings > Privacy & Security > Microphone and turn off access for any apps that don’t need access to the microphone.
- Go Settings > Privacy & Security > Camera and turn off access for any apps that don’t need the camera.
There are multiple permissions to modify a Privacy and security section, such as Calendars, Speech recognition and Health. Go through each one and revoke permission as needed.
CONNECTED: 7 Important iPhone Security Settings You Should Change Immediately
Android privacy settings
- Open Settings > Location on your phone and tap License to use. You’ll see a list of apps that can access your location at any time, only when it’s in use or if you give permission.
- Go Settings > Privacy > Privacy Dashboard to get an overview of what your apps have accessed recently.
- Go Settings > Privacy > License manager > Contacts and tap an app. Turn off access to contacts as needed.
- Go Settings > Privacy > Permission Manager > Camera. Here you can see which apps have permission for the camera. Disable them if you don’t need to use them.
- Go Settings > Privacy > Permission Manager > Microphone. Here you can see which apps have permission for the microphone. Disable them if you don’t need to use them.
There are multiple permissions to modify a license manager, such as Calendar, Physical activity and Storage. Go through each one and make the necessary changes. For more information, check out five Android phone settings that will drastically improve your privacy.
See our reports on in-app privacy settings changes:
Do you use TikTok? Take this one step now or they will follow you
How to change privacy settings on Instagram
Twitter Shares Your Location When You Tweet – Take this step now
All Google and Facebook users must complete a 30-second privacy check today