According to the Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of all US adults get their news from social media (62%), while 68% said they used news websites and apps.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google know this all too well and it is why they are using your information against you. According to Dr. Epstein, who testified in front of congress about the influence of these media giants, their influence over you is impacting your decisions, your ethics, and even your vote. Dr. Epstein, Founder and Director of Emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts, said, “If Google’s search results for any reason, are biased to favor one candidate or one party for any reason; that will shift a lot of opinions about that candidate, and that will shift a lot of votes. And in fact, it can shift millions of votes.”
At BTJ, we have been dealing with evading the authorities for years and we understand a little bit about how to avoid leaving a digital foot-print. Here, we share a few simple ideas that will not impact your life, but can great reduce the influence of digital companies over your life.
Several studies have been conducted to show that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google purposefully filter the information that you are seeing, so that they can impact the way you think. You might not think that it works at first, but over time, studies show that it does in fact have an influence.
Question. Have you ever had your social media account blocked, simply because you shared something about the Bible, an election, or COVID-19? Have you ever had an innocent post or response to your friend ‘fact-checked’ or deleted because it ‘goes against community standards?’ If you haven’t, then you are in the minority.
If you are concerned about the power that these tech giants have, there is a way to curb their power.
Here are 10 SIMPLE STEPS that I have taken to leave less of a digital footprint, which you can do TODAY.
Stop giving your phone number, email, and personal information to shops and stores!
This is a huge problem in America. So often when you go to buy products at a store, the clerk rings up your merchandise and asks, “Phone number/email/zip code?”
Shockingly, they do not even ask nicely anymore. These days, they just say it as if you are expected to give the information. I just kindly respond, “I do not live in the country,” and proceed with my purchase.
Another response that I use is, “thank you, but I would simply like to make the purchase please.”
You should never give out your personal information to retail stores. A lot of information about you can be deduced from your purchases. This is not just for marketing strategies any longer. Now, it is used for political and social strategies that can go against your Christian interests.
You ever see those social media posts that promise to give you your ‘stage name’ by mixing the name of your dog with the month you were born?
Yea, those can be used to get your passwords and to answer your security questions.
Trust me. You do not need to know your porn name or which movie actor you are most like.
Delete any Google account that you have.
OK. I have not completed this step myself. I have gone too deep into the Google account world where so much of my communications and storage has been arranged with Google prior to my understanding, but if you can delete your Google accounts – THEN DO IT.
Google keeps track of your travel, communications, appointments, expenses, charges, late responses, friends, networks, files, votes, purchases, meetings, etc.
It is dangerous and it is not worth it. I am slowly weening off of this.
Proton mail is a much better choice for email.
4. Switch your browser
I no longer use Google Chrome, Safari, etc. It is much better to use FireFox. FireFox is better, faster, and free. Torr is also a great choice for those even more concerned about security.
Switch your search engine
This is the easiest thing that you can do! You can do it now.
I use DuckDuckGo as my default search engine on FireFox and have never regretted it.
Use Jitsi for Conference Meetings
If you have a Chinese ministry and are using ZOOM, you should be hog-tied and dragged over glass by a fast horse. ZOOM is known to send sensitive and secure information regarding meetings through Beijing.
Several of the meeting forums out there are simply not safe. They require everyone in your meeting to log-in their information in one way or another.
Instead, consider using Jitsi. It is free, it is created by a community of contributors, and does not require any log-in information from any of the participants that you invite to join you.
Switch to Open Office
I stopped using Microsoft office years ago and I have saved thousands and thousands of dollars. Open Office (www.openoffice.org) is free, doesn’t require registration, and can fit most of your administrative needs. I have written all of my books using ONLY open office and have even written this article using Open Office.
If you still have WhatApp on your phone, you should probably delete it if you are concerned about privacy. Keep it if you do not care, but this step is much easier than you think. Facebook wants access to all of those private conversations and photos that you share with your friends that do not get shared on social media.
Instead, consider using Telegram, Signal, or Threema. We use Threema at BTJ.
Use a VPN
VPNs help to cover your tracks when it comes to the sites you are looking at and what activities you are doing online.
Express VPN is one of the best out there and one of their developers even attended a BTJ Hackers conference.
Delete Social Media Accounts
Full disclosure, I have not deleted my social media accounts because it is still a great way to communicate with supporters and prayer partners, but for those who TRULY want to make a clean break away – delete your social media accounts.
You can still communicate with many of your friends using DingDash. DingDash is a social media platform like Twitter, but it is run by us at BTJ. The free platform was created by Christians for Christians and is a completely free speech social media site.
You can learn more about DingDash by going to www.dingdash.com