Jul. 18
2018

Fun things we do on Facebook that actually hurt our Privacy

Tips

 

In the name of having fun or just being “in the trend,” a lot of people unknowingly download apps that are actually harming their device, and even their privacy.

Recently, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has been under fire and was asked to testify in the Senate and in the Congress regarding multiple massive data breaches that may have affected the US election on 2016.

Collected as he was during the interview, the young Silicon Valley billionaire admitted that there was a failure on their end to track how investors and advertisers access and use the data gathered from Facebook’s pool of over 2 billion users.

While people innocently think that the information they share on Facebook don’t matter because they aren’t celebrities, one should still be vigilant and informed about the things that is going on in the whole world of Social Media and not just on Facebook.

If you’re an avid Facebook user, here are a few of our tips to improve your privacy in this particular social media platform.

 

1. Don’t just say ‘Yes’ to app permission pop-ups. Carefully examine what you are permitting access to the app.

We all seem to be too used with just clicking yes on every privacy policy we see nowadays. And since we don’t seem to have any other choice at all but say yes, we skip reading, skim while scrolling fast, and absentmindedly click on ‘I accept’ without essentially knowing what we are accepting in the first place.

Ooops. #guilty.

 

If you haven’t been reading the privacy policies all along, you are putting yourself at risk to so many harmful things. Yes, they can use the data you shared for their own goals, which could be something they don’t want you to know, or they are selling it to an entity you don’t want anything to do with.

To cite an example, many developers warned the people about the viral Chinese app Pitu that lets people insert their faces in a “Wuzetian” cosplay. The app is thought to be “harvesting” a lot of data that is not related at all to the use of the app. It can record audio, know your exact location, and get phone logs that might contain private information like your password.

 

 

Before this, there was also a viral flashlight app that records conversations and that sends the recordings to Beijing. Quite alarming.

 

2. Personality Quizzes are fun, but it comes at a price.

We love getting to know ourselves and so it seems perfectly harmless to know “Which friend secretly loves you?” or “If you were a food, what will you be?”

Crazy questions like this plus a dash of little creativity, and then bam! You are going to see this for the next 5 days on your timeline. Everyone seems to do it, so what’s the harm in trying, right?

If you remember, once you click on a specific personality quiz you are redirected to a page outside Facebook, and you will be asked to either “log in through Facebook” or create an account.

Of course the Login button is right there screaming at you, and who likes the hassle of creating an account, creating a new password, etc? Besides, we have enough passwords to remember and this is just a personality quiz, so what’s the big deal?

You talk yourself through it for about a second and then you just allowed the site to “have access of your public profile, friends, photos, etc etc.”

 

 

Wow. Is it making sense?

 

3. Don’t click random suspicious videos even if they are sent by friends.

This is pretty obvious but Messenger, the official messaging app by Facebook, is being used to spread videos that when clicked are actually going to download a spyware or malware that may harm your computer or mobile phone.

Aside from potentially harming your device, some of these Messenger viruses also harm other people in your friends list or contact list by sending the same message to their Messenger coming from you.

If you receive any of it, just delete the conversation to get rid of it once and for all, or if you can’t for some reasons, just get out of the page and inform your friend who sent the message to tell other people in her friends list.

 

4. Don’t put your birthday, phone number, and email address publicly on Facebook.

We like to announce and share publicly many of our important life events, including our birthdays. Also, searching using phone numbers was one of the most convenient ways to find someone on Facebook to get in touch with old friends, family, etc.

However, these things put your privacy at risk. Because of that, Facebook has been an easy tool for phishing. You could have your identity stolen and the next thing you know it has ruined your life miserably.

Yeah, it’s nice to receive greetings from many people during your birthday, but if they truly care, you never have to tell them nor let Facebook notify them about it.

 

Conclusion

All the drama that’s going on in the US Senate right now with Mark Zuckerberg in the spotlight is not just about his or Facebook’s privacy failures. It also puts into light, how lightly people nowadays take their privacy, and how they are risking themselves to so many threats even to their knowledge.

‘Free’ Apps or things come at a price. Be sure it’s not your privacy.

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