“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”

The Social Dilemma, which hit Netflix on the 9th of September has become an everyday topic of discussion online and offline, as well. The documentary which stars Silicon Valley insiders who have previously worked at Google, Pinterest, Twitter, Apple, and Instagram discusses how social media not only leads to suicide and depression but is engineered in such a way as to be addictive.

We’ve known, for years now that certain apps collect our data and are bad for our mental health but The Social Dilemma really puts things into perspective – it takes watching it to know how freaky it is.

Here are a few tips you can follow to maintain your data privacy and cheat the social media algorithms:

Firstly, turn off all notifications except those that are absolutely necessary. The apps will try to draw your attention back to them via notifications like your friend tagging you in a picture etc but that will not be successful if your notifications are turned off.

Secondly, instead of Google, start using Qwant as your default web search engine. Launched in 2013, this search engine does not employ user tracking or personalize search results. It can be a little difficult, at first, to get a hang of it considering how used to Google we are – but hey, you want your privacy or not?

Thirdly, ditch your Gmail accounts for ProtonMail which is an end-to-end encrypted email service founded in 2013. How effective is it? Well, in January 2020, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media wanted to block it completely. You can set passwords for your emails so only the person you sent it to can see it and you can also choose the self-destruct option which means your mail will disappear from the person’s inbox after the time period set by you.

Number 4 – Opt for Firefox or Brave as your web browser.

And finally, not everything has to be sent via email. WeTransfer Pro and SendAnywhere offer password-protected options for sharing files.

Thank you for coming to our Ted Talk.