So with the latest Facebook information leak that has gone somewhat viral and has seen loads of people deleting their Facebook accounts, I decided to share some of my insights into how the leak came about and a few guidelines on how to keep yourself safe on social media platforms (including a less drastic measure to stop the Facebook tracking you while you’re on the web).
A couple of things we have to understand about the leak beforehand:
- The info was leaked from a quiz people were completing on Facebook.
- Apparently the leak was totally legal- i.e. those people who had their info leaked basically said ‘Yes, Facebook. You have access to the choices I make in this online quiz that I’m about to complete’ somewhere along the line. So was it really a leak at all?
- Target marketing of those individuals who completed the quiz.
- We were all in a slight state of shock because apparently Facebook has our information and is using it for advertising. Who knew?
When I first heard about the incident I honestly thought ‘It probably wasn’t leaked at all. It was probably negligence that led to omitting to read some fine-print somewhere that said Facebook (or the third party plugin) was going to use this info for target marketing. And, honestly- target marketing isn’t as intrusive as it sounds. Target marketing means I can actually see adverts that I want to see, like ads for beauty products instead of razor blade ads for men. It also means that if I have a product for a niche market, I can show my product to these select few people and not waste time, energy and money on people who aren’t the least interested in what I do.
The truth is that advertising on social media platforms isn’t going to go away. They do have to make $$ somehow- nothing is free. If that means tailor making a feed to show adverts I am most likely to engage with, I personally have no problem with that.
How to stay safe online:
- I came across this nifty little plugin that works with a Firefox browser and basically disables Facebook from following what you do in your browser
- Check & update your security settings on Facebook regularly so that you know exactly who has access to the information in your profile
- Be careful of sharing your subjective opinions on Facebook (this isn’t really a security risk, but could cost your friendships and reputation)
- Don’t friend people you don’t know! And if they end up on your friends list- unfriend them right away
- Limit your use of applications and plugins. Like quizzes, games and photo editing apps among others
- Use Facebook for what it is intended for- connecting with your friends and family
Feel free to use the social media icons in the right hand navigation bar to the right to share this article. That is, if you haven’t deleted Facebook yet!