Facebook stores a ton of creepy information about you
There have been a lot of rumblings lately about Facebook mishandling their users’ information. You know, like the fact that the platform allowed consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access 87 million people’s personal information on behalf of the Trump campaign. So, how much personal information does Facebook know about you? There’s a super easy way to find out.
Basically, when it comes to Facebook, we are the product being sold to the advertisers. That’s the creepy, unfortunate truth. The social media site collects information on us and sells it to advertisers who are trying to hit a certain demographic. Let’s take a look at what categories Facebook has placed you under, shall we?
First, head to your settings.
Then scroll down and click on the word “Ads.”
Click on the button “your information.”
Once there you’ll be brought to a page that displays your “categories.”
So, here’s where it gets icky. Those categories break down your political leaning, your relationship status, whether or not you live away from your family, whether or not you live away from your hometown, and even what kind of phone you use. They also list every type of device you use to access your account — tablets, phones, computers. There’s something weirdly sinister about strangers knowing whether or not you live close to your family.
Though — at least for me — all this super private information wasn’t entirely accurate. Yes, they got my birthday, my political leaning, and even the type of email (!) I use. But they also claimed that I’m in a long-distance relationship (false) and that I live away from my hometown (also false).
If you’re pretty freaked out right now, don’t worry. There’s a few quick ways to protect your information. If you head to “Apps, Websites, and Plugins” and hit “Disable Platform,” third parties won’t be able to see your data. You can also head to the “Apps” section of the site and uncheck the ones that you don’t want to have access to your account.
It’s all a bit of a losing battle, though. Facebook is free, and they’re able to stay that way by using us as their selling point.
“All data-based companies use collected data to make money. Where we draw the line on what they can and can’t do is the $64,000 question right now,” Raj Goyle, CEO of data company Bodhala, told NBC News. “It’s extremely hard for people to safely use a platform when they are not completely sure what they should be protecting themselves against, and what warning signs they should be looking for.”
So, either we all delete the platform or come to terms with the fact that our personal information is floating out there, but at least there are some steps we can take to limit it.