March 22, 2018

∴ Facebook gave data about 57 billion friendships to academic

Julia Carrie Wong and Paul LewisThe Guardian:

Facebook suspended Kogan from the platform, issued a statement saying that he “lied” to the company, and characterised his activities as “a scam – and a fraud”.

On Tuesday, Facebook went further, saying in a statement: “The entire company is outraged we were deceived.” And on Wednesday, in his first public statement on the scandal, its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, called Kogan’s actions a “breach of trust”.

But Facebook has not explained how it came to have such a close relationship with Kogan that it was co-authoring research papers with him, nor why it took until this week – more than two years after the Guardian initially reported on Kogan’s data harvesting activities – for it to inform the users whose personal information was improperly shared.

If you’re reading this article in a Facebook cross-post from my blog, or if you’ve read this Guardian article elsewhere, are you beginning to feel uncomfortable?

The bad news is, all the data given Facebook over the years—movie, music, book, friend, and social trend affinities, as well as personal data such as employment, college attendance, marriage status, etc.—is long gone wild, with age and email addresses attached. The good news is that its use hasn’t been for identity theft (that anyone knows of), but rather for marketing.

Products, politicians, “memes,” whatever Facebook advertisers are looking to hawk at you, that’s where your personal data comes in handy. So help yourself: first, dig into your Facebook profile and delete every last bit you’ve tagged as “liked.” Then delete access to your Facebook profile for every phone or tablet app as well as every service you don’t readily recognize from daily use.

Second, stop using your Facebook id to log into other services. If you’re given the option to sign up for a service or a website with Facebook credentials or some other id, use another id. Make up a userid or use your email address. Better yet give an email address you don’t use for personal communication, one that can generally be ignored.

Third, stop playing Facebook online games and taking Facebook quizzes. Every time you do, you’re giving whoever runs it—that’s not Facebook, it’s a third-party player. Why would they put out the effort to make an attractive quiz? Think about it—a little more information about yourself, which is used to custom fit a marketing scheme more likely to entice you to …

Fourth, stop reading or clicking through ads. It’s a well-worn truth that if you’re not paying for a service, you are the product. By not clicking the ads, you’re not submitting to Facebook’s marketing model. Install an ad blocker (Ad Block or Ad Block Plus) and an anti-tracking extension (Ghostery) for your browser.

Fifth, investigate other social media outlets. Or just take a long break from Facebook. I am. And remember, Instagram is wholly owned by Facebook.

None of this will undo what has been done, but it will prevent the same from happening again. What, you still trust Facebook? The company entered into a consent decree to safeguard user data in 2011. Seven years later here we are. They will do this again, and again, until they are regulated or go bankrupt. It’s baked into their profit model.

#Facebook #TheGuradian #AleksandrKogan #dataPrivacy