By now most Facebook users have heard of the data firm Cambridge Analytica and know there was a security breach. But what exactly happened and who has it affected? Most importantly, what should we be doing now if our accounts were accessed? We decided to write this quick guide to the facebook data scandal to give you a brief overview of what happened and how best to protect your privacy in the future.
What Did Cambridge Analytica Do?
The data breach occurred in 2014 when over 200,000 Facebook users download an app called This is Your Digital Life to take a personality quiz. The personal information of these people (birthdays, likes, interests, messages etc.) was then able to be accessed by Cambridge Analytica. So, how did so many (over 87 million ) Facebook users become affected? Cambridge Analytica also harvested the information of the Facebook friends who downloaded the app. Therefore, even if you didn’t download the app, and a facebook friend of yours did, you could still be affected.
Did Cambridge Analytica Get My Data?
Fortunately, there’s now an easy way to tell if your information was shared with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has created a dedicated link in its help centre allowing users to see whether or not they were one of the 87 million people worldwide whose data was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. Some users may also see a message at the top of their News Feed if they were one of those affected.
What Can I Do If I Was Affected?
There’s nothing Facebook users can do about the information that was already shared with Cambridge Analytica. However, there are some important steps you should now take to ensure you aren’t the victim of another breach. If this scandal has taught us anything, it’s that Facebook’s default privacy settings cannot be trusted, particularly when it comes to third-party apps. Protect your privacy by following the steps below, or alternatively, you can take the more drastic step of permanently deleting your Facebook account.
How Do I Protect My Facebook Data?
The problem with data privacy on Facebook isn’t what most of us think it is. Rather than being a question of what we’re posting and sharing, it’s a question of what Facebook is letting third-party apps see about us. Therefore, users need to figure out which third-party apps have access to their data.
- Go to Apps & Websites dashboard (via settings, then bottom left corner).
- You will then be able to see all the apps you are connected to including active apps, expired apps and apps you have removed.
- Click the pencil icon for each individual app to find out more information and make changes.
- If you click the X, the app will be removed, and new data can no longer be shared.
If you are brave enough, you can see all the data Facebook has collected about you since the creation of your account. This includes old messages, photos, pokes, clicks and who has access to your data. Go to settings > General > Download A Copy Of Your Facebook Data. Other ways to limit your exposure include:
- Use incognito or private browsing mode.
- Log out of Facebook when you’re not using it.
- Remove the ability to sign into other apps and services with Facebook.
- Remove Facebook-owned apps like Messenger and WhatsApp from your phone.
- Don’t take free surveys and quizzes!
Undoubtedly the Facebook data scandal has left us all a bit more concerned about our online security. However, by taking preventative measures, you can stay safe online and continue to use social sharing apps like Facebook. And if you are a business, Facebook is still be a powerful marketing tool. Talk to Nowra Web Designer today about boosting your brand awareness with Facebook ads.