We all know that joining the likes of Facebook means giving up certain personal information. But the Cambridge Analytica scandal has revealed a much darker picture of how our data is treated…
How quickly I plunged into posting on Facebook over a decade ago. Back in those days there was no private messenger, so every conversation was plastered on your or your friend’s profile for the world to see.
As many of us are doing amidst the Cambridge Analytica scandal, I have recently been through my settings to lock down as much of my personal data as I could.
And in doing so I came across my entire published history on Facebook and why I’m targeted with certain ads.
Why we need the right to be forgotten
Reading through my archives makes for cringe-worthy reading – not just for the hybrid text speak (ur kiddn me lol), asking friends about how their operations went and updates about being drunk in a bar instead of studying – but how willing I was to broadcast my life.
These are things I’d prefer not to remember. And thankfully I’ll soon have the right for it to be forgotten.
Reading back – now with the benefit of hindsight – I’m amazed at how trusting I was with everything about me which makes me, me. I happily did quizzes from unknown companies and posted results, liked hundreds of pages, shared questionable photos and regrettable statuses.
I think I felt safe because I thought it was just a network of my friends and family who saw it.
But now, as an opinion piece in the Guardian so eloquently put it, I’ve awoken from the daydream and am wondering how I was so happy handing over so much of my private information.
How much does Facebook know about you?
I used the Which? Guide on how to manage your Facebook data and found I’d inadvertently given my friends’ apps access to my timeline posts, political views, interests and whether I was online.
And I learned Facebook had identified me as an ex-pat Kiwi, with an iPhone 5S, who has housemates, is an early technology adopter and should be targeted when a close male friend has a birthday coming up.
I thought, as an early adopter, I would have been – should have been – more clued up on what Facebook was collecting on me. I’ve only just learned it stores any messages you type, even if you then delete them after thinking better of it.
It knows me better than anyone.
Is it time to #deletefacebook?
But despite all this, I’m not sure I’m ready to delete my Facebook account. At times targeted ads are really useful. I like knowing if there’s a sale on flights, a new app which will make my life better or if a recipe box company is offering a free trial.
What I don’t like the idea of is third parties buying my information and using it to influence me, my opinions and my vote. Or others, for that matter.
But what about you? Are you joining the #deletefacebook movement? Or after using our guide to see what information you’ve been sharing, are you surprised your private life isn’t so private?