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Keeping Your Private Data Private After Facebook And Cambridge Analytica

The theft of users' personal information from Facebook by Cambridge Analytica and the resulting #DeleteFacebook movement have left many Americans and other users around the world distrustful of the social media platform and considering deleting their accounts.

Blind, an online forum for tech workers, recently asked its users, "Will Facebook's data breach lead you to delete your Facebook account?" Of the 2,600 users that responded, 31 percent said, "Yes."

A survey conducted by Reuters found that around 50 percent of Americans do not trust Facebook to "obey laws that protect [your] personal information." Americans were significantly more distrustful of Facebook than any other platform, including Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

Those numbers suggest that tech employees are less likely than the general public to delete Facebook. However, around half of non-Facebook employees who responded to the Blind survey said they would delete Facebook. Only two percent of Facebook employees surveyed said they would get rid of the application.

On the other hand, the co-founder of WhatsApp, which was purchased by Facebook, and Facebook's former user growth chief, have both made statements against Facebook. Sissi Cao "Poll Shows 31 Percent of Tech Workers Will Delete Facebook Following Data Breach," observer.com (Mar. 27, 2018). 


Commentary

Cambridge Analytica acquired personal information on over 87 million Facebook users in order to send targeted political messages. The data was collected through users taking free personality quizzes.

One way to keep your personal information secure is to not share it. Quizzes, questionnaires, and other offerings for information are common on Facebook, and they often ask for private information.

Second, avoid publicly posting personal information in public. Remember, anyone can view public posts, including people with nefarious intentions. You should also be careful about what information you share in Facebook messages, as this data could be used by cybercriminals if your account is hacked.

Avoid “checking in” to locations or tagging locations in your images.

Also, avoid downloading third-party apps, as these often collect your personal data and are not required to delete your data when you delete the app.

Seriously consider not “friending” everyone who requests to be your friend. Only friend those you know personally or with whom you have a working relationship.

Finally, disable API sharing on Facebook. You can do this by going to Settings > Apps > Apps, Website and Plugins, and clicking “Edit” and “Disable.” API sharing allows you to log into other applications with your Facebook user name and password. However, you pay for that convenience by allowing Facebook to collect data sent to any applications that you log into using your Facebook credentials.

Remember, all of these tips apply to other platforms as well. Your privacy will not be any better protected if you delete Facebook, but then post information about where you live or travel on Instagram. 

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