Thursday, March 22, 2018

You and Facebook

Have you ever heard of Cambridge Analytica?  Me neither until recently.  It's a company that uses all kinds of data to devise strategies to influence voters.  It has been in the news lately because apparently it used a significant amount of information taken from Facebook to help Trump win the election.   Since then people have been outraged at Facebook for allowing this to happen.

I'm of two minds about this issue. On one hand there's no question that Facebook has an obligation to protect our information.  No one should have access to anything about us without our full knowledge and permission.  But then there's the other side to the story.  Personal responsibility coupled with a healthy dose of common sense.

When you have a company like Cambridge invite you to take a personality test and tell you in the fine print that it may be made available to others, then all sorts of red flags should go up.  That's what happened.  Millions of people took the quiz and lo and behold the results were used to target certain voters.

The upshot of all of this is first, Facebook, get your act together. Be on the lookout for these kinds of things.  Second and more important, individuals need to exercise far more caution in what they're putting out there about themselves. 

I recently went to my profile to see what apps are following me on Facebook and I was amazed.  I had no idea I had participated in so many seemingly innocent things.  They ranged from a variety of quizzes, math puzzles, games, you name it.  Every single thing you do is noted by someone somewhere.  We were all hoping it was just our 'friends' but that's not so.  Use common sense.  Be careful what you do.

Facebook is not going away nor should it.  I for one enjoy it but you can be sure I'm going to exercise far more caution.

By the way-you can eliminate those apps that are following you.  There are instructions on the web on how to do it so do it.

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