Facebook has been hit by one of the worst data leak scandals ever, although the social media platform says technically there was no breach. Data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica along with its affiliated behavior research firm Strategic Communication Laboratories allegedly misused Facebook’s website with some help from academic researcher Aleksandr Kogan to acquire personal Facebook details of nearly 50 million FB users.
But the bigger question is how did the company do it? How did it acquire the data? The answer is all those cute animal quizzes and random personality tests that you take on Facebook. Yes, it is these API-using third party apps that played the weapon for the company to acquire personal details put on Facebook.
The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife. Like any other app on Fb it asked permission to access certain Facebook details during the installation. The app developer Aleksandr Kogan not just siphoned off the user’s details but also the data of people who were friends with all those who installed the app. This details were used to build algorithm that helped Trump win the election.
All this sounds scary. This scandal is a reminder that our personal details are not safe on Facebook. The details can be easily misused for some other no so good reasons. So what do you do? Deleting your Facebook account is one option but not everyone can do that. Many use Facebook to stay connected or at least stay in touch with their old friends. There are some quick and easy steps to limit you data sharing with Facebook. These will ensure better safety of your personal details shared on Facebook. Take a look:
1. Say goodbye to third party apps: Do this first! Yes, if you are one of those Facebook users who in his/her free time enjoys taking random quiz and tests on Facebook, this is for you. Stop doing that. These API-using third party apps want access to some of your personal Facebook details to give result.
To prevent yourself from unknowingly giving out all your personal details to Facebook, go to Apps section on Your Facebook page. At the top you will see a list of all the apps that you’ve used so far. Scroll down to find Apps, Websites and Plugins option on your page, click edit and turn off all third party apps. In case, if you have given permission to apps like Goibibo and Bookmyshow, you should go through entire list of apps and individually select each app to remove it.
2. Switch off your Location services: Location data is one of the easiest way to get to your several other personal data. To turn it off or limit Facebook access to it, go to Account Settings> Location> toggle off Facebook’s access.
3. Limit your post sharing settings: This is the next important thing you should fix on Facebook ASAP. Go to Settings> Privacy>change ‘Who can see your future posts?’ to ‘friends only.’ You can also limit your past posts to friends only. This will limit all your past Facebook posts to friends only.
4. Review taggings and limit them: Under the Privacy, you will find “Timeline and Tagging” option. This controls who can post on your timeline. Limit the option to only me and friends. Also make sure to switch on turn on the settings for reviewing tags people add to your posts and posts that you’re tagged in before they are visible on your timeline.
5. Say no to Facebook Face recognition: Yes, such settings exist too in Facebook. Hidden amidst the cluster of settings option under Privacy, you will find an option that reads Face recognition. Click on it. “To recognize whether you’re in a photo or video our system compares it with your profile picture, and photos and videos that you’re tagged in. This lets us know when you’re in other photos and videos so we can create better experiences,” this is the message Facebook gives. Head straight to ‘ Do you want Facebook to be able to recognize you in photos and videos?’ and select No.
6. Remove your personal info or limit them: The last move is to edit your About me section. This is to limit your data sharing with Facebook. To do so, click on the question mark icon given on the right corner of the page. Select Privacy check up. You can delete or hide all your data from here.