All social media apps collect user data but Threads is king

New research has confirmed what many suspected anyway. Threads, the Meta-owned microblogging platform, is the worst social site for protecting user privacy.

Threads and Instagram, the Meta app tied to the new Twitter/X rival, are the worst social media platforms for personal user privacy, Home Security Heroes, a cybersecurity firm, has revealed in a fresh analysis.

This isn’t exactly news, of course – Twitter’s owner Elon Musk, among others, have long said that Threads is collecting far more user data than similar platforms. The app may collect data related to your health, financial information, contact information, browsing history, location, purchases, and more.

You can’t sign up for Threads if you’re not an Instagram user. This means that Threads would use Instagram user data, including location, search history, and other sensitive information.

No adequate protection

Concerns over privacy have also led Meta to delay the launch of Threads in the EU. Meta is working out how to have the new app comply with the bloc’s strict regulatory requirements, and still has no foreseeable launch date in the region.

As annoying as it may be to millions of Europeans, Home Security Heroes’ report shows that the problem is real – Threads collects 50% more personal user data than Twitter/X, for example.

It might seem that most social platforms struggle to protect user privacy adequately. But the study reveals a complex landscape with varying degrees of protection.

To determine which platforms excel in safeguarding personal information and which apps fall disappointingly short, the firm assessed data collection, user control, security, and user experience patterns for different applications.

The results are stunning – and damning to Meta. Its ecosystem, which includes Instagram, Threads, Facebook, and Messenger, collects the most user data for advertising and marketing purposes. They track an astonishing 86% of personal information.

These are the social media apps most hungry for your personal data. Courtesy of Home Security Heroes.

Yes, these apps have done a good job of giving users different choices for protecting their private information from other users, the report says. They also use many different security measures to keep people from being hacked.

“However, these apps collect loads of user data for marketing and advertising activities,” Home Security Heroes’ researchers say.

68% of social media apps track their users’ data for advertising and marketing, and

62% of investigated platforms track users’ personal data for their own marketing benefits.

The safest social media platform for personal privacy, according to Home Security Heroes, seems to be Flickr. Also doing well are Hive Social and Baidu, a Chinese tech company that has the second largest search engine in the world.

The safest social media platform for personal privacy seems to be Flickr. Courtesy of Home Security Heroes.

Engagement dropping rapidly

As for Threads, there might be no need to worry after all. Yes, it signed up 100 million users in less than five days since launch but the app has been unravelling, and fast.

Threads has seen its engagement drop by 79% to just 576,000 daily active users, following its peak of 2.3 million in early July, Similarweb, an analytics firm, said last week.

The app may still have a better chance of becoming the new Twitter than some other alternatives. But Threads needs to provide users with more reasons to keep coming back, Cybernews wrote recently.

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