Privacy or no privacy – that is the question

Social Media privacy – or lack thereof

When you first sign up to a Social Media platform, you have to accept and confirm their terms and conditions. These conditions determine how this platform is going to use your personal data, preferences and interactions – even if your account is set to “private”. Regardless of how you use your social media account, there are two important things to understand: 

Number 1: copyright

Number 2: your relationship to the platform and how their representatives collect your data. 

These two topics will turn up several times as you learn more about social media privacy – or should I say lack thereof. 

If we start with the copyright part of things, this is a critical part for any creator, but also for observers. When you post an original image it is automatically protected under copyright law. But even if this means other users can’t post your image without permission – because it is posted on social media it is therefore royalty-free. Generally though, most platforms offer both instructions on how to report, and how to protect your content against infringement. 

The second part is your relationship to said platform and how your data is being handled. Data collection has been a sore subject for many people across the world. 

If we look at Facebook, a.k.a Meta, they had to completely spill the beans on their data collection policies due to the many, many scandals that emerged. This caused a larger societal debate regarding big tech’s enormously growing power and the threat against privacy for their users. 

What happens when our data gets breached?  

The amount of personal data that social media platforms stores, is massive to say the least. Every bit of information they collect and retain is vulnerable to scraping and hacking, especially if these platforms haven’t taken the necessary measures to ensure security and restrictions. 

The type of data that is at risk depends on the platform and network, but can include health information, location, sexual orientation, religion, private messages and photos, face recognition images and much more. 

The consequences of exposing information like this can be quite serious – everything from stalking to outing someone’s sexual orientation. In other words: Not good. 

And you might think that you constantly approve privacy policies that should protect you when creating a new account, but rest assure that these “policies” are rather disclaimers that are full of loopholes, hard to interpret, vague and practically impossible for users to enforce when push comes to shove. 

Why? Because these policies are inadequate to protect sensitive information, and only published by platforms to act as waivers once someone gives consent to them . 

Personal data around the world 

Guidelines, compliance and data protection vary by territories and countries. For example, USA has no “overall” federal law for cybersecurity, but the FTC shares its own recommendations and every different state’s own rules of compliance. 

In Europe there is GDPR – European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. 

All of these regulations waivers to ensure the protection of consumer data and to offer users with their rights. However, despite of this, tech companies still struggle with staying out of controversies regarding data collection, and platforms and network still use the data in rather, well, questionable ways… 

As mentioned earlier, one of the trouble makers in this regard is Facebook, and the bad press circulates around leaks, misinformation, individual rights and social justice. 

This leads us to WhatsApp. When Facebook bought the app they changed the terms and conditions which said the two platforms would link datasets automatically. But – Facebook then used this information in marketing purposes, which led the EU to fine them for misleading users and violating the law. 

We could get into the rabbit hole of Facebook ownerships, violations and general shadiness, but that could be a whole article (or more likely book) in itself. 

Next we have TikTok, the Chinese owned platform that made U.S officials wary of its data collecting procedures. The concern was mainly about how they would use said data and that it could possibly raise a national security threat. But as it happens, in 2020, the ownership of TikTok was split between China and the U.S. 

Needless to say, there’s a need for a re-examination on how social media platform use personal data and how brands invest in their own websites more. 

How to balance SEO and SMM 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) is two very different ways of promoting your business, and in the right balance can be quite powerful. But the most important part of it all is to consider how  the market is evolving and where to put your biggest amount of focus and budget. SEO will lead to more exposure and traffic to your website at a low cost, and since social medias organic reach is constantly reducing, you’ll have to spend a lot more to get the result you want. 

With that being said, a mix of both is still the most ideal strategy. While SMM won’t help your search engine ranking results, it can help you identify your target audience and thus create a better SEO strategy. Also better social media engagement can lead to more people finding your website and therefore improve your SEO. 

Likewise, as your SEO improves, most likely will your social media engagement. 

If we’re talking investment, you could see SMM as a short-term strategy and SEO as long-term. 

As there is a huge rise in social commerce, we can’t underline enough about being careful with your and your customers data and to be aware of how it’s used by these platforms. 

Social media accounts can be prone to breaches which could mean leaks of intellectual properties, violations and client confidentiality. 

You might have noticed that the social media commerce solutions are all free, but have you ever considered why? 

It’s because of data collection. And excuse us for being crass but, if a product is free – you are the product. 

Due to the lack of control companies have on social media networks, the consequences could have devastating results on a brand’s image and credibility, not to mention potential legal actions. Unfortunately, you as a company will be to blame – not the platform.

SMM undoubtedly drives a lot of traffic and is a vital part of getting your brand out there. Just make sure that the transition from social media to your own website delivers an experience that is as intriguing, inspiring and interactive as these platforms, and really invest in your own real estate. 

Endgame: Your money website

Whatever you do, whether it’s on social media, affiliate sites or SEO, you’re always going to want your visitors to end up on on your website. 

But research shows that more and more people are using social media only for communication, and are less interested in visiting landing pages through their social networks. If they need a specific product or service – they will search for it in a browser. 

90% of people who research online know exactly what they’re looking for, making SEO an even more powerful tool for companies and brand alike. 

Better SEO in 2022

The best way to better your ranking in the search result is to create an environment that makes your visitors stay and explore your website for as long as possible. Google favours time-on-site and interaction, and one way to achieve this is through video content. Video catches people’s attention, increases engagement and conversions. But even here we have to think about the privacy and security of our content and where we store it, and as much as we love Youtube, it should not be seen as a hosting platform, but a search engine and social media platform – with its own set of terms and conditions. 

The best thing you can do is choose a hosting platform that keeps your content safe and that lets you link the videos to your website without any branding from other brands or risk of unrelated watch-next-video suggestions etc.  

Stepping up the game with interactive video however, is next level stuff. Creating videos that are interactive will not only raise the time-on-site, but will also give you valuable insights about your visitors, and providing a unique experience where they’re in control of the customer journey. 

Stay up to date with the latest interactive video news & trends

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