A new study shows social-media users who react to privacy violations by deleting their accounts won’t stop tech firms such as Facebook and Twitter from continuing to track their moves.
Researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of Adelaide in Australia gathered more than 30 million Twitter posts from 13,905 users.
Using that information, the data scientists were able to accurately predict a person’s posts without ever looking at their social profile.
The study – published in the journal Nature Human Behavior – found that even if a person leaves a social-media site, posts from friends can still provide about 95 percent of the “potential predictive accuracy.”
Facebook has admitted to a number of privacy blunders, including one that turned over the private information of more than 80 million users to the political research firm Cambridge Analytica.
Users who reacted by deleting their accounts won’t necessarily regain control over their privacy, the study found.
“There’s no place to hide on a social network,” said Lewis Mitchell, co-author and senior lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Adelaide, the Sun reported.
James Bagrow, a mathematician at the University of Vermont who led the research, told the London paper, “You think you’re giving up your information, but you’re giving up your friends’ information too.”
The tech giants can even build a profile on people who have never had a social-media account, deploying it for marketing purposes.
“You alone don’t control your privacy on social-media platforms,” said Bagrow.