Social Media Platforms: Should you be worried about your privacy?

AuthorAlbuquerque, Carolina

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By agreeing to Terms and Conditions, you are signing an online contract allowing social media to collect and share some personal information.

Have you ever scrolled down the long page of terms and conditions for social media sites and immediately pressed the "I agree" button without even reading it? Certainly many of us have!

It is true you cannot change or individualize the terms and conditions for social media websites. You have no other option. In other words, if you want to join any new social media website, you will need to agree with the conditions imposed by them.

When you agree to these terms and conditions, you are also agreeing to their data policy. You are signing an online consumer contract that allows social media to collect personal information about you and share this information with third parties.

But that is not all. Some of the social media platforms include a forum selection clause that says you can only sue the platform in one specific jurisdiction. Sometimes that is another country. Do you think this seems unfair? The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it was. In Douez v Facebook Inc, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the forum selection clause in the Facebook contract is unenforceable.

The Court stated:

[T]here was gross inequality of bargaining power between the parties. Individual consumers in this context are faced with little choice but to accept Facebook's terms of use. Because the forum selection clause is unenforceable, rest assured you do not need to go to another country to sue the social media company.

What kind of information about me is collected?

Social media platforms are constantly updating their terms and conditions. Recently, in December 2020, Facebook announced their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use agreements, along with their Data Policy and Cookie Policy, would be updated soon. Also, at the beginning of 2021, WhatsApp announced a new privacy policy originally slated to go into effect on February 8th.

But what do these changes in privacy policy have in common? They all say that social media platforms can have access to your personal information. And that they can collect and share this information with other institutions.

Social media can collect general information about yourself (such as the pages, accounts or hashtags that you follow) or more specific data (like the location of a photo or the date a file was created). Moreover, social media can collect information...

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