Protecting Yourself In The Time Of Facebook

Since the news of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal blew-up back in early 2018, many of the social media giant’s users have been angry and asking for answers. Millions deleted their Facebook accounts (or at least deactivated them).The scandal struck a major chord, even though it’s always been public knowledge that Facebook’s advertising model involves using the public’s data to make money, allowing the social media service to remain free. Mark Zuckerberg insists Facebook doesn’t sell data, but clearly,some major parties have access to it. Any advertisers on the platform can utilize your data indirectly to target you. Was the Cambridge-Analytica scandal a data breach? Many say yes, because even though a select number of users agreed to handing over their information for academic purposes, that data and the data of their contacts was spread around and sold for political purposes. That’s a breach. Anger has been boiling over after it was revealed Facebook knew about all of this since 2015.

Data breaches are common and increasing. For a striking visual, Information is Beautiful has provided an interactive bubble chart showing the severity and details of each one. And that’s only including incidents where over 30,000 records were accessed! Individuals can influence change by contacting their local politicians with their concerns, letting companies know they’re unhappy with privacy policies and protections, demanding compensation in the case of data breaches, and taking their business elsewhere, never agreeing to vague policies.

Aside from services in the cloud and the virtual world, there might beother vulnerabilities to data breaches you’re forgetting about. Excess paper files and old technology like discs, old computers, and drives, contain sensitive personal info as well. Holding onto everything is a risk because it can be stolen or viewed at home or at the office, and long-forgotten materials can easily be thrown away while doing a clean-up or moving house. If you’re in Toronto, or anywhere in the surrounding area, a certified company like Absolute Destruction & Recycling can look after your document destruction and the proper crushing and recycling of physical drives, disks, and other electronics. You might not always know what companies are doing with your personal information, but you can proactively protect yourself with the help of professionals.

For those worried about their privacy and others accessing their sensitive materials, there are a few more steps to take. Don’t automatically press OK on app permissions and privacy agreements that pop up. Read them and look up what each permission means. It’s not possible to know what each developer or company is precisely going to do with your details once you agree, so if there is any concern, don’t give consent. Pay attention to free products or services. Their revenue model likely involves third-party advertisers using your data. Be wary of any permission that asks to access to your contacts or friends. You might be okay with giving your data away for a free service, but are your loved ones?

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