The Dark Side of the Philippines Being the World's Social Media Capital

Being number one has great costs.
Photo/s: shutterstock

The average Filipino internet user spent an average four hours daily on social media in 2020, proving that we are the world's most social nation, notwithstanding virus quarantines and slow internet connections.

This share everything behavior is a gold mine for data and gives multiple opportunities for identity theft, that's why Filipinos should secure their online presence, said Edwin Concepcion, local country manager of Singapore-based data privacy solutions company, Straits Interactive.  

"We basically share everything. We want the world to know about what we’re doing, a new car we bought, a new house we purchased, the achievement of our children," Concepcion told reportr.

In four hours of clicking without reading the fine print, social media users may be unaware that they are giving out their personal info, which can be used by social media operators and marketers. 

The Philippines is among countries with the highest incidence of digital logistics fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to market analysis firm TransUnion.

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We Are Social

Some new 16 million users joined social media last year, according to We Are Social, noting they aren't necessarily 'unique individuals'. Still, that number's enough to elect a Philippine president if they all voted here.

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In terms of mobile app use, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Lazada, 
Instagram, and Shoppee topped the list. Except for the two e-commerce platforms, the three apps are all owned by Facebook which is currently at odds with Apple over responsible use of user data. 

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We Are Social
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Based on the We Are Social report, 29.7% of average internet users tracked their screen time or set time limits for some apps in January 2021. Some 57.2% took caution over what is real or fake on the internet, while 38.2% were concerned about how companies use personal data. 

The perils of data insecurity are real, as in 2016, when the biggest leak of Facebook data involving the UK's Cambridge Analytica included users in the Philippines.

One year before the elections, Comelec said social media will now be the main battleground for political campaigning due to the pandemic. 


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