For almost two weeks, I have been reporting on the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook fiasco, on Komando.com, my daily free podcasts and my national radio show. Every day seems to uncover some new privacy invasion. But we need to look in the mirror. After all, we did give Facebook everything it has on us, we just weren’t told how it would be used. So now what?
Every Facebook user is now evaluating whether or not it's worth it to stay connected. For all the pros Facebook gives us, like staying in touch with family and friends, funny videos, picture sharing, there are so many cons.
To make the right decision for you means you need to know what's happening and what your options are. That's why I'm here, to help you sift through all of the nonsense, and give you the facts.
The quiz that failed us!
Let’s start from the beginning. Almost 300,000 people took the quiz titled "This is your digital life." The app was created by Cambridge University Professor Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, pitched as a "personality test" and only required you to sign in using your Facebook login. By using the Facebook login tool for other sites, you are basically allowing that app's developer to tap into all of the information in your Facebook profile including your name, where you live, email address and friends list. But this quiz also grabbed information from your friends, so even if you didn’t take it, but one of your friends did, you’re involved!
Dr. Kogan had all of that data, and then shared it with Cambridge Analytica, a voter profiling firm.
Can’t give it up? At least get rid of third-party access and data collection
In light of this current fiasco, short of deactivating or deleting your Facebook account, what should be your first order of business?
Well, you have to check, review and audit your Facebook third-party apps. Throw out the outdated, delete the unwanted, kill the unused, and remove all the suspicious apps lurking in your Facebook account as soon as you can.
Don’t want to delete it but want a break? Deactivate!
With all this uncertainty surrounding Facebook as well as the general creepiness the site seems to be exuding, you may be wondering if it's time to hit the eject button and move on from the site. If so, you are not alone.
But maybe you’re not ready to get rid of it completely. I made the decision to deactivate my account, which is a step I advise you take, too.
Now, you should know there is a difference between deactivating your account and canceling it entirely.
Fed up with the privacy invasion? You can delete your Facebook account, but what does that mean?
If the Cambridge Analytica mess was your final straw, you might be ready to wash your hands of Facebook permanently.
Deleting your account means permanently erasing everything you've ever put on Facebook. Your account will cease to exist. (Notice I said your account, this does not mean that the information you have out there isn’t still out there.)
You need to take control
Face it, Facebook isn't watching out for you, it's a business, a money-making business, that will use its resources (you and me) to attract advertisers. Facebook is collecting everything on you including all of your call and text data. Click here for steps to turn off that tracking. It's even making assumptions about you based on your likes, dislikes and searches including what political party you are likely to support! Click here to see how you can find out whether Facebook thinks you're liberal or conservative.
Don't rely on Facebook's silly "privacy setting" choices. Read this to see why checking those boxes does absolutely nothing.
If you want to hear more about Facebook and this Cambridge Analytica mess, listen here to my free Podcasts:
Cambridge Analytica & Facebook manipulated us, & we helped!
Your online privacy is compromised! Cambridge Analytica manipulated you, then harvested your personal data and psychographic profiles through Facebook. But did you help? Is it too late to protect yourself? Can you get your privacy back? What are your rights? Does online privacy even exist? The laws are changing. Click here to listen now to my inside scoop from an Internet Security Lawyer and a risk management pro on this week’s Komando on Demand.
Don’t underestimate the trouble they’re in.
Forget the White House, Zuckerberg.
Facebook just announced that it is ending its Partner Categories program. It allowed Facebook advertisers to target users based on their activity off Facebook and even offline, like if the user has been shopping for a home or a car.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission confirmed it’s investigating Facebook for possible privacy violations and lawmakers are asking Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. Stay tuned!