What You Need to Know About Facebook Data Mining and Privacy from Third Party Apps

Ever since the news broke recently about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s role in data mining, we’ve been hearing a lot of fear mongering surrounding your privacy on services like Facebook. We’ve got the lowdown for you right here.

First of all, Facebook (and Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc) are free services. The reason why they are free is because they receive money from advertising agencies, like this one, to use that free service as a powerful marketing tool. Facebook does gather some information about you as a consumer, but that’s done, in part, to help improve your user experience. It’s so that you’ll only see advertisements that are relative to your lifestyle. Pretty cool, right? They build a fairly broad profile of you, and show you content that they think you’ll enjoy.

Facebook is very stringent with their advertising policies, though. Advertisers, like us, can get extremely granular when we build an audience for an advertisement. But Facebook won’t let us target people based on things like race. We can’t advertise anything that would be considered body shaming (weight loss pills or plastic surgery). Basically, we can’t exploit people. Which is fair enough, because we here at Stafford Media Group would never do so anyway.

The place where it gets tricky is third party apps. These apps are built by outside developers not associated with Facebook. These apps are things like personality tests, photo filters, games, etc. Before a user gains access to them, they have to click ‘yes’ when asked to give that app access to their profile and also maybe their friends’ profiles. If you take a quiz to find out what type of cheese you are (Gruyere, thank you very much) you’ll have to grant access to this app first. If you want to play a game through Facebook, you have to grant access to the app. If you want to find out what you would look like as the opposite gender, you have to do the same thing.

The personality quizzes are actually the worst. Not only are people giving them access to their Facebook profile and friends list, but they’re also answering personal questions, which provides them with even MORE data.

See where we’re going with this?

So, how do you stop this? Watch the video. We walk you through the process of tightening your security. You’ll be able to remove access to the apps you aren’t familiar with, and prevent your friends from piggybacking your data along with theirs when they sell out to find out what type of cheese they are (probably Stilton.)