Privacy Policy Truths Vs. AI

Next gen technology is taking the world by storm. Due to new technologies like ChatGPT, people are starting to realize how advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be. Some people are fearful of AI and view it as a potential threat and honestly – I get it. For the past few decades, movies, books, and well-known individuals have demonstrated the idea that AI will take over the world. Now, I’m not saying I agree or disagree with this, but rather, would like to prompt a question that coincides to the belief of the “AI Takeover:”


Is AI the problem, or is the real problem the privacy policies we all agree to?


The point of this blog is merely to make you think about the personal information you are agreeing to give away and potential ramifications – good, bad, or indifferent. While this will focus on social media, the access is similar across all apps from productivity, to banking, to entertainment.


Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are applications that a magnitude of people across the globe use to share their lives with family and friends for zero cost. These platforms advertise themselves as free entertainment – but are they really free? In an everyday consumer transaction, you pay using some sort of currency, but do you consider your personal information a form of currency?


I knew social media platforms were collecting information like my name, phone number, email, and whatever other details I gave them when signing up. After digging into 3 of the biggest social media platforms, here are some interesting details I did not know (and maybe you didn’t either):


  1. Twitter – their collection disclosures summarized; did you know you agreed to these?
  • Information about your device and its settings, such as device and advertising ID, operating system, carrier, language, memory, apps installed, and battery level.
  • When you sign into Twitter on a browser or device, we will associate that browser or device with your account. Subject to your settings, we may also associate your account with browsers or devices other than those you use to sign into Twitter (or associate your signed-out device or browser with other browsers or devices or Twitter-generated identifiers).
    • If you sign in on your friend’s device – they have all your friend’s information.
  • We may receive information when you view content on or otherwise interact with our products and services, even if you have not created an account or are signed out, such as:
    • IP address; browser type and language; operating system; the referring webpage; access times; pages visited; location; your mobile carrier; device information (including device and application IDs); search terms and IDs (including those not submitted as queries); ads shown to you on Twitter; Twitter-generated identifiers; and identifiers associated with cookies. We also receive log information when you click on, view, or interact with links on our services, including when you install another application through Twitter.


  1. Instagram / Meta – their collection disclosures summarized; did you know you agreed to these?
  • Messages you send and receive.
  • Purchases or other transactions you make, including credit card information.
  • We collect device information like:
    • The type of device
    • Details about its operating system
    • Details about its hardware and software
    • Battery level
    • Signal strength
    • Available storage
    • Browser type
    • App and file names and types
    • Plugins
  • Identifiers that tell your device apart from other users’, including Family Device IDs.
  • Types of content you view or interact with, and how you interact with it.
    • Are they recording / tracking your face?
  • Information you’ve shared with us through device settings, like GPS location, camera access, photos and related metadata.
  • Information about the network you connect your device to, including your IP address.
    • The name of your mobile operator or internet service provider (ISP)
    • Language
    • Time zone
    • Mobile phone number
    • IP address
    • Connection speed
    • Information about other devices that are nearby or on your network
    • Wi-Fi hotspots you connect to using our Products
  • Apps and features you use, and what actions you take in them.
  • Content you provide through our camera feature or your camera roll settings, or through our voice-enabled features.
    • What are they listening for?


  1. TikTok – their collection disclosures summarized; did you know you agreed to these?
  • We collect information you provide when you compose, send, or receive messages through the Platform’s messaging functionalities.
  • We may access content, including text, images, and video, found in your device’s clipboard, with your permission. For example, if you choose to initiate content sharing with a third-party platform or choose to paste content from the clipboard into the Platform.
  • We collect certain information about the device you use to access the Platform, such as your IP address, user agent, mobile carrier, time zone settings, identifiers for advertising purposes, model of your device, the device system, network type, device IDs, your screen resolution and operating system, app and file names and types, keystroke patterns or rhythms, battery state, audio settings and connected audio devices. Where you log-in from multiple devices, we will be able to use your profile information to identify your activity across devices. We may also associate you with information collected from devices other than those you use to log-in to the Platform.
  • We collect information about your approximate location, including location information based on your SIM card and/or IP address.


According to Statista, there are currently around 4.89 billion social media users. That means these companies have at least 4.89 billion users’ personal information, BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. Look at what else is written in Facebook’s Privacy Policy:

  • When a user uses Contact Uploading and grants us access to their device’s address book we will access and upload the names, phone numbers and email addresses in their address book daily to our servers, including those of both users of Facebook, Messenger and/or Instagram and other contacts who are not users or don’t have an account.


The social media platforms and other apps are responsible for putting these policies in place to ensure they are making a profit from collecting every ounce of information they can about their consumers. 


According to Twitter, Instagram / Meta, and TikTok’s privacy policies, all the information mentioned above can be sold to third parties like merchandisers trying to sell you something, other countries, the Government, new leadership of the platform, nefarious actors, and who knows who else?


AI can only query data which we allow these platforms to collect. AI is a mechanism to manipulate data, collection is required for AI to work. So, to reference my initial question above:


Is AI the problem, or is the real problem the privacy policies we all agree to?


With all the information shared, here are a few other questions to think about:


Do you consider these “free platforms” to really be free?


Do you care that these companies can read your messages, know your location, view your banking information, have access to your device’s files and photos, etc.?


Do you think your contacts who are not on these platforms are okay with their personally identifiable information (PII) being shared?


Who is the bad guy? AI for potentially manipulating your information? The platform/ company for irresponsibly exploiting you for profit? Or yourself for opening the door and accepting the privacy policies to allow this?


Where do you draw the line regarding what personal information is considered “okay” to be collected and stored?


If this concerns you and you are considering removing social media from your life, just a heads up: even after deleting the app, they could still be preserving your information


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