Metadata is data about your data.
Consider a photograph on social media. The actual photograph may not be visible to the public. However, there is information about the photograph that can still be accessed, such as when the photo was taken (timestamp), how large the file is, and maybe even the dimensions. This doesn't necessarily describe the photo, but this data can be passively harvested for other purposes. Metadata that is often vulnerable to collection and that can compromise your privacy includes:
Data that is commonly available about you on social media platforms includes:
Companies can create virtual surveillance apps using publicly accessible data. The Who's in Town App, launched in 2018 uses an API to harvest publicly accessible geolocation data from Instagram to visualize the locations of all of the people you follow on an interactive map.
First, check the user privacy settings in all of your apps AND on your devices. Many privacy policies are opt-in, rather than opt-out.
Turn off your location data for apps and close apps when you're not using them.
Consider using encrypted platforms for sensitive communication.
Signal is an encrypted SMS tool. Unlike standard text messaging, the carrier and sometimes third parties can intercept the text. Signal creates a direct connection from user to user or user to a group of users and vice versa.
Tor Orbot is a proxy app for Android based phones built by the Tor Project. It users relays to mask users.