The Current State of Facebook & Why it is in Trouble
If you have been keeping up with the news on any type of media, I am sure you are very well aware of the current state of Facebook. It is easy in these situations to misinterpret and then overreact based on what source you heard from first. What makes it even harder is the rampant “fake news” outlets, that would have you believe something furthest from the truth. While appearing as a credible source while doing so.
To summarize quickly here; last week via Youtube, Channel 4 News released an expose on uncovering knowledge that an analytics company Cambridge Analytica had misused Facebook data. This misuse was obtaining data from Facebook, whether it was an app, a page, or basic communication that was tracked and logged. This data was then sold off to various parties to help tailor their campaign to create the right message for the right type of voter.
The news is publicizing the American election with Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, but as investigations go on, it seems that there has seen foul play in our country as well. Along with other nations worldwide using the same tactic. Facebook isn’t alone in the copious amounts of data they obtain. Pixel Privacy has a great write up on a step-by-step guide on how to erase your google history.
How Did They Collect The Data?
Data was collected through an app called the “Personality Test”. It was created by a hired contractor from Cambridge Analytica. Due to lax privacy policies from hosted apps on Facebook, answers were then leaked directly into databases to use for segmented specific audiences. This data was harvested from millions of unsuspecting users who thought they were just killing time with a fun app.
Elon Musk, Mozilla Firefox and many other highly touted brands and people are pulling away from Facebook. Reactionary or reasonable? I think a little bit of both. Any social media platform has us putting in sensitive information, information that is continuously sold off to advertisers. The weird thing is, I think most people know (or at-least are starting to) on how much information they know about us. As a marketing company or business, it is great to segment your audience as you can deliver a robust retargeting campaign or ad to that specific user.
Facebook frankly is too big to fail. Too valuable to people to communicate with loved ones across the globe. Also crucial for customers to have a voice and interact with their favourite brands or companies. So what is one to do?
Harvested Facebook Profiles
"Personality Quiz" App Downloads
Facebook Market loss in $ (As of March 26th 2018)
Top 9 Ways to be Safe and Protect Your Identity on Facebook
- Review third-party apps permissions: Have you ever accepted a friends game request for FarmVille or done any of those silly tests – “What will I be when I get older” “Whats my ancient name”. You should go into your account settings to see how much these apps are taking from your profile. You can go here to learn all about how to block, delete or remove permissions from unwanted apps.
- Decide if you “need” the Facebook app: You cannot argue the convenience of using the Facebook app. Whether it’s responding quickly to messages, or posting on an event or uploading the cool meal, you’re having at dinner. Just like #1, the app collects a lot of information. Location services track your movements. It has access to your photos that are stored on your phone. If your phone is lost, if not correctly set up, any user could get direct access and modify without a login needed. Facebook Android App Instructions. Facebook Apple App Instructions.
- Check to see how Facebook sees you with the “Data Selfie”: This step is for chrome users who can use an extension called Data Selfie. What it does is run in the background recording your information on how you interact with Facebook. The more you use Facebook, the more data gets recorded. What the extension then does is by using this data it creates predictive analytics and insights on who you are. This is done by using machine learning APIS. You can learn more at Data Selfie.
- Anyone can be anyone on Facebook, be careful who you talk to: Although Facebook has gotten better at verification methods to prevent fake users, it hasn’t stopped hackers from going on and creating fake accounts. Easily a phoney phone number or email address can be obtained for an account to be created. It is advised to friend and communicate with the people you know only in your day-to-day life. For all you know, you could be chatting with a hacker.
- Go through Facebooks revamped privacy settings checkup: Before the data debacle, Facebook created an intuitive privacy checker that goes through step by step to make sure that your current settings are up to date. Find out more about the Facebook Privacy Checkup.
- Read Privacy Policies: I would like to see an honest statistic of people who do read these. After the current events, try to make an effort into looking through the terms and conditions. Skim through to find identifier words that may hint that the data may be unused in an uncomfortable way for you.
- Clear browsing data from all your browsers: Tracking is done through cookies. These help websites identify ad targeting and behavioural patterns. Every so often you should clear this. No matter the browser, there are clear instructions out there. See how to clear your data from Safari, Chrome, Microsoft Edge.
- Download your data: This may be your last stand to figure out if the service is for you. Follow below on how to see how much information they truly have on you. (Depending on file size and demand there could be a delay). Download Facebook Data.
- Be mindful on what you post: Now you know how much data is captured, so the last and easiest thing you can do going forward is always to do a double take and think about what you’re sharing. Remember, sharing not only with your friends and family but the world.
Digital Exhale Can Help!
Digital Exhale can help you and your business by creating secure social media accounts and having safeguards so that data is safe. Your data and your customers data. Find out more about our social media services on how we can help you. If you have questions or concerns you can always contact us.