What you need to know about the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook data “breach” – the short version

By Graeme Codrington 

What you need to know about the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook data “breach” – the short version. Read this before you over react and delete your Facebook account.

  1. If the product you're using is FREE, then you, my friend, ARE the product. If you didn't know that, you probably shouldn't be allowed out the house in 2018. It should be no surprise to you that Facebook and other social media systems use your data to send you paid-for information from advertisers.
  2. DON'T DO THE QUIZZES: I've said this over and over again, and blocked people who keep sending me requests to find out what animal I am like, or how much I know about 1980s music, or which one of the Black Panther cast I like best. Each one of these Facebook quizzes is designed to find out more about you, and improve the profile that these companies have about you. If you're happy to give this information away for free, and then receive targetted messages based on this, go for it. There isn't really a downside, but don't be surprised when you get targetted. Really, it's not rocket science.

    PS - when the game or quiz you're playing starts asking you questions like: "What city were you born in", "What's your mother's maiden name", "what is the name of your best childhood friend" and "what is the name of your first pet"; and your scam alert antennae don't light up, then you also shouldn't be allowed out the house in 2018.

    See Jimmy Kimmel showing us how unaware people are about cybersecurity in this hilarious video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opRMrEfAIiI

    3. Don't delete your Facebook account. Just delete apps that are linked to it, and understand the two important points I made above.

    4. Realise that most of what is sent through to you is from inside your own filter bubble. You're being fed a worldview by people who have been able to profile you, and then can send you very targeted information that reinforces that worldview. Step outside your bubble. DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. And please, please, don't share ANYTHING before you have done some work to verify it as truth and fact.

    Watch this excellent TED video on filter bubbles: https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

So, in summary: don't freak out; don't delete your Facebook account; but DO upgrade your understanding of the world we live in.

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