Last week, it became clear that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, got access to more than 50 million Facebook users’ data in 2014. Facebook has allowed third parties to violate user privacy on an unprecedented scale, and, while legislators and regulators scramble to understand the implications and put limits in place, users are left with the responsibility to make sure their profiles are properly configured.
The data was overwhelmingly collected, shared, and stored without user consent. The scale of this violation of user privacy reflects how Facebook’s terms of service and API were structured at the time. This was not only a data breach – this is exactly how Facebook’s infrastructure works.
In addition to raising questions about Facebook’s role in the 2016 presidential election, this news is a reminder of the inevitable privacy risks that users face when their personal information is captured, analysed, indefinitely stored, and shared by a constellation of data brokers, marketers, and social media companies.
You could choose to leave Facebook entirely, but for many that is not a viable solution. For now, if you’d like keep your data from going through Facebook’s API, you can take control of your privacy settings. Keep in mind that this disables ALL platform apps (like Twitter, or Instagram) and you will not be able to log into sites using your Facebook login.
Click on the buttons below to review & update both your personal and you 3rd party APP settings. We have included further steps below.
Steps below to update your Facebook APP settings
Log into Facebook and visit the App Settings page (or go there manually via the Settings Menu > Apps ).
From there, click the “Edit” button under “Apps, Websites and Plugins.” Click “Disable Platform.”
If disabling platform entirely is too much, there is another setting that can help: limiting the personal information accessible by apps that others use. By default, other people who can see your info can bring it with them when they use apps, and your info becomes available to those apps. You can limit this as follows.
From the same page, click “Edit” under “Apps Others Use.” Then uncheck the types of information that you don’t want others’ apps to be able to access. For most people reading this post, that will mean unchecking every category.