Facebook Collects All of Your Info. How Are They Using It?
Everyone knows that Facebook collects all the information they can on their users. Your data = big bucks to advertisers and a whole host of other companies.
Companies like Facebook mainly prey on the not so tech savvy people among their users. Menus that keep privacy settings obscured just enough to keep them hidden, long terms of service that go one forever, etc are all ways that they get people to unintentionally opt into sharing their data…and it’s all legal.
What if you click all the right blocks and don’t let people you don’t know view your profile? Well, Facebook has a fix for that pesky problem and it’s really simple…just ignore it.
Here’s how Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica, a UK based data collection company, gather the personal information of 50 million users:
Here, in a nutshell, is the CA scandal. In 2014, Aleksandr Kogan, an academic of Russian origin at Cambridge University in the U.K., built a Facebook app that paid hundreds of thousands of users to take a psychological test. Apart from their test results, the users also shared the data of their Facebook friends with the app. Kogan sold the resulting database to CA, which Facebook considers a violation of its policies: The app was not allowed to use the data for commercial purposes. Carol Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison, writing for the U.K. publication Observer, quoted former CA employee Christopher Wylie as saying the firm “broke Facebook” on behalf of Stephen Bannon, the ideologue and manager behind the Trump campaign.
Have you ever clicked on one of the apps in Facebook? Did you read the terms of service to make sure you weren’t giving away your personal info?
There may be some of you that don’t see a problem with this. Afterall, they probably used the info to assist Trump. What if the roles were reversed?
It didn’t escape keen observers that if the Trump campaign used Facebook user data harvested through an app, it did no more than Barack Obama’s 2012 data-heavy re-election campaign. It’s not documented exactly how Obama’s team gathered oodles of data on potential supporters, but a deep dive into the tech side of that campaign by Sasha Issenberg mentioned how “‘targeted sharing’ protocols mined an Obama backer’s Facebook network in search of friends the campaign wanted to register, mobilize, or persuade.” To do this, the protocols would need to use the same feature of the Facebook platform for developers, discontinued in 2015, that allowed apps access to a user’s friends’ profiles — with the user’s consent, as Facebook invariably points out.
This is no different than any other form of corruption, if it can happen to them it can happen to you.
What do you think about Facebook’s action here? Let us know in the comments section below.
Are you interested in protecting yourself online? Read our article on VPNs to see how. Just keep in mind, a VPN doesn’t protect information that you knowingly or unknowingly give to companies on the internet.