In 2011, Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added the term social media to its dictionary. Social media is defined as “forms of electronic communication (as Websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities for sharing information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).”
Real engagement of customers and clients is promised by Social media in organizations for two-way communication. According to Gartner (2016), “social media analytics comprise monitoring, analyzing, measuring, and interpreting digital interactions and relationships of people, subjects, concepts, and content.”
Collection, analysis, and interpretation of data from social media platforms are involved with Social media analytics for gaining insights into user behavior, preferences, and trends.
Even though social media analytics is a valuable asset in terms of information for businesses, researchers, and marketers, privacy issues are always a major concern.
Some of the key points for considering social media analytics and its privacy concerns:-
- Vast data collection by social media platforms about their users, such as personal information, demographics, location data, and browsing habits. The data helps target advertising and analytics tools can be used to access the information.
- Users should be aware of consent and Transparency laws while their collected data are being used on social media platforms for various profitable purposes.
- User privacy is protected with social media analytics tools used for anonymizing and aggregating data. The individuals are prevented by removing their personal identifying information.
- Privacy is protected with anonymization but complete use of such technique is challenging and re-identification is also possible. Thereby, the risk of re-identification needs to be minimized with precaution.
- Robust security measures need to be implemented by organizations to protect against data breaches and unauthorized access. Data encryption, access controls, and regular security audits are important practices for enhancing data security.
- Data Ownership and control by the users are important for managing privacy settings, controlling data sharing, and easily deleting the desired data.
- Ethical use is a need in social media analytics to respect user privacy, avoid discriminatory practices, and collect data for legitimate purposes.
- Privacy concerns are focused on by Governments and regulatory bodies by implementing regulations and policies such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the US aiming to protect user privacy rights.