MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Facebook has taken a lot of heat over its privacy practices after Cambridge Analytica used the data of 50 million Facebook users collected without their permission.

It spawned the #DeleteFacebook hashtag with celebrities like Will Ferrell and Cher getting rid of their accounts.

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But, if someone deletes Facebook, what happens to their digital privacy? Good Question.

“People who think deleting Facebook means you’re going back to the pre-digital age of privacy will be disappointed,” says Bill McGeveran, a privacy expert at the University of Minnesota Law School.

People can deactivate or delete their Facebook account. Deactivation is more like “taking a break” from Facebook, whereas deletion means your information is scrubbed from Facebook servers. Facebook says that deletion process can take up to 90 days.

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“All of the data should go off Facebook servers and they won’t have it anymore,” says McGeveran. “But, the third-party apps that you connect with, they might still have it.”

Facebook began to limit how much data third-party apps could have access to in 2015. But, when a user agrees to the terms and conditions of the app, that app does have access to varying degrees of a user’s information. According to McGeveran, there is no legal obligation for those third-party apps to delete information.

Facebook is just one part of digital privacy. McGeveran says using google, geolocation, messaging or any number of other Internet applications will mean a person’s information is scattered all over the place.

McGeveran recommends people do a digital privacy check-up on Facebook to better control who has access to their information.   He says he’s not quitting Facebook because he finds it’s too valuable, but he does not use third-party apps with it and is careful about what he posts.

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To download a report of a user’s Facebook data, go to Facebook settings, then click on download a copy of your Facebook data.

Heather Brown