Nevertheless, we cannot deny that we never knew that Facebook collected our data and sold or used it. So why are we all complaining about Cambridge Analytica using and profiling that data for targeted political advertising? Possibly because that personal data belonging to 50 million users, was exploited without their direct consent. This event is demonstrative of how Facebook’s core business model of collecting and harvesting data, can be abused.
All of this begs the question – should we delete that Facebook account now? Nope, not yet. However, we should protect our personal information as much as we can. Did you ask how? Simple. By revealing as less information as possible about ourselves.
Reduce your digital trail
Tech giants like Google and Facebook know a whole lot about us. They offer myriad services for free like photo hosting and sharing, search features and location sharing. Over the years, Facebook built a robust and hugely popular social media platform where we all have posted our thoughts, our pictures, our trips across the world and even our date of birth. All of this information was collected and used to profile the end user.
Keep your digital footprint to a minimum. You don’t need to update Facebook about all the cities you have lived in. Avoid that check-in on Facebook each time you take a flight or board a train. Keep that opinion about a political leader or political party to yourself. You can discuss it with your friends while having a cup of coffee. Remove your phone number as well. In a nutshell, the less you reveal about yourself, the less you can be targeted or profiled.
Revoke access to apps you don’t use
Used Facebook to register for a news or shopping app you seldom use? Time to revoke access to such apps. To do that, log in to your Facebook account and go to the settings page. Click on “Apps” link on the left menu. You should now see the list of apps that you have linked to your Facebook account. Identify the services or apps that you do not use and remove them. That should revoke their access to Facebook data.
Remove “Like” from the page you don’t care about
Your friend, colleague or relative invited you like that page which his or her friend created. Just to oblige that person, you liked that page. But, you were never interested in updates or posts from that page. Think no further. On your Facebook homepage, click on the “Pages” link on the left. You should see “Review Liked Pages”. Get started and remove those pages which you do not want any longer.
Unfriend that “Friend”
This might sound a little rude. Why befriend someone at all if you are going to say goodbye forever? Well, there is a solid reason to do that. Many people on Facebook are there to flaunt that waistline or their toned pectoral muscles. Some post pictures of exquisite food they are having or their visit to the prehistoric neanderthal cave. It could be fun at times. But when you find this to be a trend or when you don’t care about such posts anymore, you can unfriend that person. This will not only save you from unwanted rubbish but will also help you protect your own private data from people who may reveal it inadvertently.
Facebook is synonymous with the Internet for many people. For them the Internet means Facebook. It is considered cool to have an account on Facebook. But while people use its services for free, they unknowingly provide so much information about themselves and their friends, that it makes them vulnerable to data leaks or misuse of data. It is imperative that we keep our private data protected as it is an asset. Not just for you but tech giants as well. So reveal your personal information only when you truly trust someone.
And yes – beware of free services on the Internet. You might have understood by now that nothing really comes for free.