Big Tech companies like Facebook, Instagram and Google have data centers all around the world. It makes accessing the services in different geographical locations faster, but they also serve as data storage hubs.
Social media companies, in particular, gather an incredible amount of personal information from you. Tap or click to see 18 shocking things Facebook knows about you. That knowledge needs to be kept somewhere. The largest data center in the world is a massive 7.2 million square feet. Called The Citadel, it’s tucked away near Reno, Nevada, far from prying eyes.
But don’t think that just because the largest data center is in the U.S., your data is being stored there. A recent report detailed exactly where your data goes when you use an app, and you might find it surprising.
Instagram and its data flow
Facebook and Google are both American companies, so it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think they store all your data in the U.S. It turns out, however, that Facebook-owned Instagram is the top tech company to ship your information all over the world.
Mackeeper did some digging with connection tracker LittleSnitch and found that Instagram sends your data to six different locations:
- Kansas, USA
- Virginia, USA
- Dublin, Ireland
- Nairobi, Kenya
- Rio Branco, Brazil
It’s easy to deduce why data gets handled in these particular regions. They function as server databases and storage for the U.S., Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.
As the report details, the more countries involved with data handoffs, the greater the risk of an information breach. With Instagram tracking almost 60% of your data, it can be a massive security risk.
It’s not just social media companies
Social media services aren’t the only culprits to send your data on a whirlwind tour of the globe. Microsoft Excel also sends you data to six countries. Amazon sends your information to five countries. Pinterest transfers your info to four nations.
Interestingly, the state of Kansas is considered the data capital of the world. Of all the locations across the globe, 39 apps and websites send their data there – and there’s a shocking reason for that.
“Kansas state laws are classed as very weak when it comes to data privacy and cybersecurity. Research into state legislature shows it has a lack of any form of active legislation to protect consumer data,” the report by Mackeeper notes.
While Kansas doesn’t really have a general privacy act, California is one of the strictest states when it comes to private information. In the West Coast state, consumers have the right to sue a tech company if data is misused. They can also demand to see all the information a company has saved on them.
Protect your Instagram data
Your information is the most valuable asset you have. If your data is leaked onto the internet, it could be used for all sorts of malicious purposes. The best way to secure your data on Instagram is, well, to not use the service in the first place.
But if you’re not giving it up, there are some steps you can take to protect your privacy and data:
- Set your account to private. This will limit the number of people who can see your photos, but it will also limit data exposure to others.
- Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA). This will prevent any unauthorized login attempts if someone gets their hands on your passwords.
- Don’t use your Instagram account details to sign in to other apps. Yes, it’s a convenient way to log in, but you’re only sharing your data with more apps and services than needed.