For a long time, I have warned of over sharing information on social media, particularly your whereabouts or information about your children. This view has been strengthened recently by the Cambridge Analytical and Cubeyou scandals. Investigations are still underway but it is alleged that Facebook users who used certain apps or quizzes ended up sharing not only all their own personal information but that of their friends also. If you were directly affected by this data sharing scenario you will receive a message from Facebook telling you so.
This comes on top of news that Facebook scans all your private messages sent using Facebook’s messenger. All your Facebook videos, even those you had deleted, are held on Facebook servers indefinitely. Facebook claims this is a glitch, but it still gives rise to concerns about all the personal information one company holds on you and what could happen if that information fell into the wrong hands, or even misguided companies you trust.
What is the big deal?
Generally, Facebook users are unaware of just how far Facebook goes to sell you! Rest assured if you are getting a service for free then you or your data is the commodity. Facebook sell your information e.g. likes and dislikes, to third parties. Essentially all social media sites look at what you post, the locations where you check in etc and create a profile of you. They then target you with adverts which keep you engaged, whereby they harvest more information about you. The more precise the targeting the more valuable that information is. Ultimately, they use your information to subliminally manipulate you, in Cambridge Analytica’s case, for political gain.
What can you do?
First, check your app settings page in Facebook and see what apps you have given permission to and what information they have available to them. You can then revoke access to any apps you don’t use or don’t recognise. Limit your posts to “friends” or “only me”, not public.
Next, remove any personal information that you don’t want to share, for example, education, check ins, dates of regular holidays and photos of your nearest and dearest. You can also disable tagging so when you are on holiday with friends you don’t inadvertently alert people to the fact your home is empty.
The more extreme action is to delete your profile altogether, this isn’t the same as deactivating your page. Click here to go to the page. It takes 90 days to have all your data deleted from their servers, but after that time you will be free from Facebook forever!
Caroline The ‘PuterTutor