In the age of digitalization, social media has become almost indispensable. The Internet is now widely used for both professional and personal purpose.
Thus, Facebook holds the record for social platforms in terms of number of users, reaching approximately 2.6 billion active people per month. Instagram lags behind over 1 billion active people a month. TIK TOK is fast approaching 900 million active people a month and the list of online social platforms does not end here. Being active on social networks has gradually become a model for everyday life. Today, when we have free time, we prefer to check our friends’ status online. In these conditions, it is not surprising that the average time spent on social networks in 2019 was 2 hours and 22 minutes a day.
And yet, what’s so bad about spending time online? Well, being active on social networks means sharing as much of your private life as possible with your followers. From the purchases we make (clothes, appliances, phones, cars), to what events happen in our lives (who we form a couple with, who our children are, where we work) and until when and where we go on vacation, all are evidence of our social status and reasons to accumulate appreciation online. Most important, more and more users are inclined to share their personal data over the internet, and GDPR, even if it regulates some aspects, doesn’t yet cover all the situations where online platforms abuse the data collected.
A study by Eurostat on EU citizens aged 16 to 74 shows that only 25% of online network users are reluctant and have refused to provide personal information on the internet. At the top of the ranking is French, with a percentage of 40. The same cannot be said about the inhabitants of Eastern European countries. The same study shows that 90% of Bulgarians, Croats, Hungarians, and Romanians said they did not avoid providing all their personal information on the Internet.
In other words, a sequel of Cambridge Analytica scandal can happen anytime in Eastern Europe. Moreover, Romania is one of the countries mentioned in the Cambridge Analytica related documentaries when it comes to countries where this company actively influenced the elections. Is Romania going to repeat that episode? It is highly possible, especially with 90% of the users inclined to expose their personal data.
Our conclusion: be active online, but protect your privacy! Once exposed, your personal life and your personal data cannot be easily gained back.