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Do you take Facebook quizzes? The Trump campaign used data analytics to take that kind of info, which you gave up voluntarily, and target you with extremely specific political ads. Here’s how they did it, and what you can do to stop it in the future.
Last year, after the election, my co-hosts and I at Parenting Bytes were fired up. In December 2016 we did an entire episode about how Facebook quizzes in general, and Cambridge Analytica in particular, were taking your info and using it against you in ads. We tried to tell you way back then that the Trump campaign had used data analytics at a granular level to help win the election. And I have to say, I was surprised and disappointed when that episode didn’t get much attention. Well, now everyone is paying attention.
Facebook lost 7% of its value yesterday after it revealed over the weekend that data was breached for 50 million Facebook users, but even that seems to be in question. Did Cambridge Analytica lie to Facebook that the information it was gathering was for academic research? Did it say that it would destroy info and didn’t? Frankly I don’t care. Facebook’s response that they were somehow a victim in all of this is so shady.
We based our episode on an excellent piece in the NY Times by McKenzie Funk, and you should read it right now, because while some new information has come to light, the fact that Facebook apps and quizzes can exploit information that you think is harmless is not new. And there are concrete steps that you can take in order to protect your info:
- Obviously, stop giving those Facebook quizzes and apps permission to get into your private info. You can still go to a website and take the quiz, you just have to stop short of sharing it through the website to Facebook – that’s where they get in. And if it’s a Facebook app you’re giving permission to, pay careful attention to what they’re asking for before you agree.
- Go into your Facebook settings and make sure that your friends aren’t sharing your info with websites and apps. Some of these sites are so crafty that even if you’ve stopped taking those quizzes, your friends might be giving those sites permission to mine data from your profile. And because Facebook is TOTALLY not a victim in this, the default setting on Facebook is to let that info be shared. So, go to Settings, then Apps, then Apps Others Use, and uncheck everything.
- Stop using Facebook to sign into other sites. Honestly, this is one that I’m still working on. I use Facebook to sign into everything I possibly can – it’s just so easy! But by doing this I’m opening myself up to hacking, data breaches, and sharing even more information with companies.
We’ll have more on this on the next Parenting Bytes episode, but before that, you should listen to the old episode, where we go in-depth into just how your Facebook info was used last year to help Donald Trump get to the White House. It’s fascinating.
[bctt tweet=”So what did Cambridge Analytica do with your quiz info? And how can you prevent it from happening again? #ParentingBytes #facebook” username=”AmyOztan”]