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May 5, 2021

Social Media Privacy: Facebook vs Parler


These days, online life is a lifeline for most people.  With regular social media use, though, comes risk.  This is something that most of us know generally, but how much do we really know about social media use and the data that it shares?  With the most recent update for iOS users, we can now easily learn what we should know about our favorite apps and how they use our data — and what to do about it!

Social Media Privacy and iOS

While those that are particularly digitally savvy are more than familiar with the idea of tracking and AI and how it can basically get into a user’s head in order to (supposedly) better a social media experience, most of the general public haven’t been aware of just how much data mining and data collection Facebook does.  

With the latest update to iOS 14.3, users are now able to go into their devices and see first-hand just how much data that Facebook is tracking, using, storing, and then manipulating.   They can see how apps collect their data, how often, and even what that data is.  For the first time ever, average people can peek behind the curtain and see social media internal workings for what they are.  And the results are terrifying!

Why social media privacy matters

If you’ve never seen The Social Dilemma, there’s never been a better time to settle in with some popcorn and give it a watch.  A no-holds-barred expose on the dangers of social media, this talks to former employees of all of the social media greats and talks about how they were responsible for helping these social media apps addict and attract more users at younger ages.  

The documentary also makes sure that it discusses the negative impacts that social media can have on the mental health of many teens and young adults that are growing up and seeing everyone else’s happy and perfect lives on facebook, and then feel insignificant because their own lives don’t measure up.

Social Media Privacy
Social Media Privacy

The Social Dilemma was intended to alert users to the true danger of social media in terms of mental health, but also to the fact that it is tracking more than you think it is.  That’s where the latest iOS update comes in!

Facebook and social media privacy

Without question, Facebook is one of the worst offenders in terms of just what they are collecting both in your app use for their app, but also in just how much of your personal data they’ve got on you.  For example, everything from your user ID to your list of contacts, and even your health and fitness data collected on your phone, is openly collected and used to (supposedly) optimize the app’s experience.  Not only that, it’s not always kept by Facebook.  It’s also used for advertising and other third party vendors, which many people don’t know!

Then there’s the fact that Facebook also has this section called “other data types” which refers to other undisclosed data sources that they can be collecting from you and then even sharing it with their own third party users who may not be keeping it as private as you want.

The bottom line is that Facebook collects a lot of data — a lot more than most of us thought before this latest iOS update — and it means that we are all a lot more vulnerable than  we would have liked to believe.  Not entirely sure what that data all looks like lined up?  Take a look at the video below!

Facebook App Privacy Details

Want to see for yourself instead?  We don’t blame you!  Go to the App Store and then take a look at details in the app.  You’ll have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll in order to get to the bottom of that impressive and terrifyingly large list.

Once you’ve recovered from that shock, why not take a look at your other popular apps, too?  The more you know, right?

Facebook vs Parler social media privacy

While all social media apps will collect data, making many fearful of general social media privacy, we don’t have to necessarily give in and deal with Facebook’s excessive collection and use of user data and analytics.  That’s what has led many people to start considering less popular apps like Parler.

This is an app that is quickly rising in popularity.  If you take a look through the App Store screen, you’ll see quickly that there is much less data collected than through Facebook, and that the data that is collected actually, you know, makes sense in order to better the user’s experience in the app.

Parler is seen as a true Facebook alternative.  It offers all of the social media features that you know and love, and is intended as a social networking site, but it doesn’t focus on the same data mining and even the murky details on what they actually do with the data that they collect.  Let’s take a detailed look at Parler’s collection.

Parler App Privacy Details

Data collection and mining

One of the best details to see how Parler is becoming a true Facebook alternative is to really do a Facebook vs Parler privacy battle.  Let’s compare the two videos.  The Parler app is 34 seconds long and the scroll bar in the App Privacy section is relatively large.  You can see that the data collection makes sense, really.  There’s also clear information on the fact that it stays with Parler.

Comparing that to Facebook’s App Privacy page, with its much smaller scroll bar and 1 minute long length. It’s a terrifying difference.  Facebook more or less micromanages your data and isn’t nearly as clear on its protection (or lack thereof) your privacy.

Less personalization

It’s true that Parler will be a little less personalized because it doesn’t track your user data and experience as much as Facebook does.  But it also means that you won’t get trapped in ads and posts and even things that friends share that are, essentially, hand-picked by you.  Imagine, you’ll be able to log onto your news feed on this Facebook alternative and actually see the posts that are being uploaded by your friends, rather than the “selected by algorithm” repeated posts!

No censoring on posts

This also goes as far as to say that Parler’s content is uncensored.  What this means is that you aren’t only going to get the so-called “socially accepted” opinion on things.  Parler was clear to explain that it simply monitors the posts and makes that there are no pornography or nudity (which they strictly prohibit), but allows users to determine what they want to see or not see.  The content that you will see on your news feed, for better or worse, is uncensored.  You determine what is useful or valuable for yourself instead of someone else doing that for you.

The bottom line

Realistically speaking, Facebook vs Parler privacy speaks for itself.  What you decide works for you with social media privacy is your decision.  Many conservative social media users find uncensored content on Parler much more refreshing behind it hasn’t been prescreened and spoon-fed to them like it is on Facebook.  Many people have already flocked to Parler.  While it may never replace Facebook, it certainly offers an attractive alternative!

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