MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A massive data leak involving a popular social media site has some people scrambling to check their privacy settings.
Fifty million Facebook profiles of U.S. voters were harvested for private information. Analytics firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the data as it was working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Facebook has suspended the firm. The information was obtained through an app in which people used their Facebook profiles to get registered, which was furthered explained in a statement from the social media site.
Across several websites requiring registration, your Facebook profile can get you signed up with a simple click. It seemed like a good idea to Chad Hanson.
“When I originally got an Instagram I linked it to Facebook,” he said.
But what he forgot is that he did the same thing for countless other apps for several years, which gave them access much deeper into his profile than he ever thought.
For example, he had previously used his Facebook profile to log into AOL.com, which he joked her never remembered actually doing.
When he checked to see what type of information AOL.com could see on his profile, he was shocked.
“Public profile, friends list, relationships, pictures, religious and political views,” he listed. “Those were all checked. That was from AOL which I didn’t even ever use AOL.”
While talking with Hanson he started removing the access. To do so, pull up account settings on Facebook. Then click on “apps” to see which ones you’ve logged into using Facebook. From there you can uncheck the information each app can see on your profile.
It’s a hassle Catherine Gray avoids all together by never clicking on that “log in with Facebook” button.
“I would just choose to do all of the work to enter my information if there was something in particular I wanted to pursue,” she said.
Learning of the data leak involving Cambridge Analytica only confirmed her concerns. “In a way it doesn’t surprise me, and it also completely freaks me out,” she said.
Rather than specifically unchecking the type of access each app has for his Facebook profile, Hanson began disconnecting the apps from his profile entirely.
“Be careful for what you sign up for,” he said. “Just make sure you know what you’re doing when you sign up for these things because there’s definitely stuff that I wouldn’t want AOL to know about me.”
To check the type of access apps have on your Facebook profile while using a desktop computer, follow these steps:
- Find the arrow in the top right corner and scroll down to settings.
- On the left side of the screen, click “Apps.”
- You’ll see every app you’ve logged into through Facebook.
- Next to each one is a little pencil where you can edit settings.
- Edit the access each app has, such as pictures, by checking or unchecking the boxes.