Let’s talk about Facebook for a second.
The wonderful website where you can share your interests, keep up with family and friends and also exercise some keyboard courage to random people on the internet. What people do not understand about Facebook is that you are the commodity that makes Facebook money.
“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold”
When you give information to sites like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, they build a profile on you based on what products, books, movies, TV shows, political figures … etc that you “like” . This information is used to target ads to your specific profile. This data can also be accessed by other apps that you use and also sold to other data mining firms. So, that awesome “free” game that you used Facebook to log into to get more coins or whatever also has your data. That personality quiz you took on Facebook? Yep, they have it , too.
The issue isn’t that Facebook collects this data, the issue is that you gave them the data and permission to collect and share it. It’s called the Terms of Service agreement. You know, that big long thing that you agree to without reading. Yeah, that one. You entered into an agreement to have your data shared in order to get access to the Facebook site. When you take that quiz to find out what kind of cheese you are, someone is on the other end collecting that data and building a profile based on your Facebook information and your answers. This is how the data firm Cambridge Analytica collected data on over 80 million Facebook users. The very second that you sign in with Facebook to an app, you have handed them all of your data that you supplied on Facebook. Same thing with Google (I’ll get to them in a second).
The apps on Facebook, and the sites that ask that you sign in with facebook, collect your data. They pay Facebook to gain this access. Again, YOU are the product.
So, should you delete your Facebook account and ditch your Gmail account as well? No, the damage has already been done. Maybe just be careful of what apps, games and quizzes you give access to your Facebook account. Also, Facebook owns Instagram. So, if you have those accounts linked; then your data from Insta has also been shared. You may want to unlink those accounts.
OK, now let’s talk about Google.
Google does the same thing as Facebook. You have a profile with Google. It’s called a Gmail account, so when you sign into Chrome/Google with that account they log your data as well. Your searches, your messages, the whole nine, just like Facebook. I give Google a bit of grace though. Simply because I get more with Google. Gmail, Google Maps, Messenger, Android, Google Drive, Google Photos… ect. I know Google is mining my data, they straight up tell you and give you the option to opt out. To me, Google is more Quid Pro Quo about their data mining. I get more out of them for my data. With the Opinions Reward app, I actually get Google Play Credits (Actual Money) for just taking a survey. You can actually go here and see what data Google has on you. If you use and Android phone and didn’t opt out or you use their apps and didn’t opt out; then it may be a little shocking. Again, if you are not paying for it, then you are the product.
You can also go here to see what Facebook has on you.
Should you be worried about all of this? Not really. Plenty of sites and apps do this (Even this one) to generate revenue. It’s when 3rd parties like Cambridge Analytica abuse and violate the terms of service with these sites that shit goes sideways and there is a congressional hearing. The point that I would take away from all of this is just to be mindful what you give access to sites like Facebook. Is it worth your personal data to find out who your celebrity crush is?
No, not really.
Just be careful out there.