Online, everything is data. When you join a social network like Facebook, you consent to them gathering information about you and your activities on their platform. Every friend request, like, check-in, follow, and unfollow is a piece of data that is gathered and analyzed. This data can be used to target you with ads for products or services you may be interested in.
Recently a group called Cambridge Analytica was accused of using Facebook data along with other proprietary psychological profiling tools to create super-accurate models of user behavior, which in turn allowed them to target people with ads that would be more likely to sway an opinion or provoke an emotional response.
Without wading any further into the weeds with regards to these current events and tumbling stock value of Facebook, it’s important to be aware of the privacy tools that Facebook provides so that you have some measure of control over what people and advertisers can see. Facebook allows you to customize settings for Friends, Friends of Friends, and Public.
Managing your Facebook settings
To access your Privacy settings, look for the disclosure triangle in the upper-right corner of the Facebook website on a PC or Mac. Once in Settings, click Privacy in the left-hand column, and you will see the Privacy Settings and Tools page. This is where you can make changes to who can see what you post to your profile.
Often when we take a facebook quiz, link our facebook account for various phone applications or click on certain advertisements, we agree to give permission for that company to view our profile. Many, but not all, of these companies, will sell that data.
If you click on Ads in the Settings, you can tweak some of the information that is used to display ads in your News Feed. This includes your job, relationship status, education, likes, etc! Clicking on each of these options, you can lock your profile down to the extent you choose.
Keep in mind that any online service you are not paying for is one where you are the product. As always, if you have any questions, the Geeks at My Tech Guys are happy to help!