Is Our Privacy Really Exposed? It’s a yes and no answer. This might explain why Elon Musk deleted Facebook pages for Tesla and SpaceX.
AUSTIN, TX, March 27, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — ON MARCH 17, 2018, The New York Times, alongside The Guardian and The Observer, reported the findings of the investigation of Cambridge Analytica. This revelation and its implications, that Facebook allowed data from millions of its users to be captured and improperly used to influence the presidential election, ignited a conflagration that threatens to engulf the already tattered reputation of the embattled social media giant.
A hurricane flattened Facebook, you might have heard. The financial experts didn’t take too long in reporting that Facebook just lost $60 billion — more than Tesla’s entire market cap — in two days, as reported by Forbes.
Let’s pause the political rant for just a moment, step outside and use the Cambridge Scandal and take a look at your Facebook account, so you can identify where they are getting your information and 5 things that you can do today.
Facebook Is Hacking Us Every Nano Second.
The idea of being hacked sounds like a terrible thing. However, it really isn’t.
When you read Facebook’s history, you easily recognize the incredible intuition of a student, who was barely 20 at the time, when he decided with a few friends to launch the first version of the social network in 2004, initially for Harvard students. Mark Zuckerberg, a shining representative of the famous hyper-connected and social “Generation Y”, realized well before anyone else, that digital data would be the gold of the 21st century. As such, he can be considered a pioneer and visionary, alongside the founders of Google and Amazon.
The concept of studying data to gather demographics and interests is not new. That’s basically how every marketing campaign gets structured. What Facebook brought to the table was the phenomenal idea to decode the mathematical calculation of who we are and what we do. That’s the intention of their algorithm.
Zuckerberg’s good intentions are legit. They want to be able to provide us information that gets us connected with our friends and family. In other words, engineering the world, removing the friction of life, give us the choice to consume content that gives us pleasure and remove anxiety. If this sounds like utopia to you, well, it is.
I do appreciate their intentions, when I contrast what other traditional media channels do: push us fear, scarcity, violence, and unsolicited ads that we have no control of. The problem arises when third parties bridge their platform and share their information with fourth parties, violating their license agreement. This is the essence of the Cambridge “scandal” and what is throwing Zuckerberg under the bus.
Now that the FTC has opened an investigation, as announced by TechCrunch.com, you might be wondering…
Is Our Privacy Really Exposed?
The answer to this question is: yes and no.
No, because Cambridge scandal didn’t accuse Facebook of baking information being shared, or social security numbers, etc. That doesn’t mean that Facebook doesn’t have it. What has been shared is names, emails, connections, behaviors, and data usage. Data miners use that information to develop theories about human behavior.
Listen, this is pretty much like the Horoscope. Market research agencies and marketers often use the Big Five personality traits to help understand the consumer and to segment customers into personality types.
It is also often used by HR professionals to evaluate prospective employees. The Big Five dimensions are considered to be the key underlying traits that make up an individual’s personality. The Big Five traits are often referred to as OCEAN (aka, CANOE) – Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
Maybe yes, depending on the app that you have authorized to access your smartphone and their intentions. So let’s start with Facebook App.
Facebook requires certain permissions from your device in order to be able to function to its optimum level, but these permissions account for almost all of the permissions that any of the apps need. You can read Facebook’s data policy at https://www.facebook.com/policy.php.
To give you a brief idea, you allow the Facebook apps to access:
* Your contacts, call logs, text messages. This essentially means that the company can see who all are in your contacts, call them, message them and also see who you’ve been in contact with.
* The app can also make modifications in your device’s calendar.
* Your location, which enables them to know where you are.
* Your camera, which means the app has permission to click images, record videos and audio via the microphone too.
* Your internal storage, which means they can see files on your phone as well as delete them.
* The app can access your WiFi, change the wallpaper, network connectivity and much more.
In short, the amount of access that the Facebook app enjoys on your device almost equals the amount of access you do. If you truly believe that the world is full of individuals that want good things to happen, you can rest well. However, for public figures who engage with sensitive information, individuals who engage in crime, is not that easy to be incognito. This might explain why Elon Musk deleted Facebook pages for Tesla and SpaceX.
As an attorney with a business background and CEO of a marketing consulting firm, this is what I’m telling my clients to do.
5 Security Settings That Everyone Should Have
1) Your friends list should be private.
Most data miners structure their target to discover you, and your friends. They believe that if we fit into the target that they are looking for, most likely, we have friends that will also be a fit. If you are familiar with Facebook Ads, this is the entire concept behind custom audiences and lookalike audiences.
2) Ban Facebook Quizzes Apps.
These apps have been banned multiple times. It’s fun to find your personality test and share with friends, but developers use them to access the details listed in your Facebook profile, including your religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, photos, groups you’re part of, events you’ve attended, and more.
Remember the Fashion Magazine Cover Filter App? This is where they get us!
If you have used them, you can manage your permissions from your Facebook privacy settings. I am deleting all quizzes, games, and apps.
3) If You Use Payments, Create A Special Credit Card or Banking Account Just for Facebook.
With Facebook Payments, you can purchase things from your favorite businesses on Facebook, start a buy and sell group in your community and buy games online. After this data scandal, I am recommending that my clients have a credit card or paypal account just for Facebook.
Be aware that some of the games that you have used might have asked you for a payment. You might want to double check your current payment authorizations, https://secure.facebook.com/help/1434403039959381.
4) Tell Your Marketing Team – Do Not Upload Files For Custom Audiences. Use The Copy/Paste Feature Instead.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook advertising isn’t leaving. Like I mentioned earlier, data miners use that information to develop theories about human behavior which is pretty much like the Horoscope. We try to craft your ideal client profile as much as we can. For example, if you are promoting high ticket items, Facebook gives us the option to target an audience by income level. As long as you are not in real estate, this is totally acceptable.
A custom audience feature allows you to place your ad in front of potential buyers, reducing the marketing budget, and avoid using interruption marketing that bothers people and makes them hide your content.
You can create a custom audience by importing your existing customer data to your “assets” on Facebook, so they can look at those people and whoever matches their interests, behavior, etc. When using this feature, you have the option to either import your file or copy/paste the data. Pick the last option. If you want to read more about custom audiences, go to https://www.facebook.com/business/a/custom-audiences.
I have a support group where we talk about all things social marketing. Feel free to reach out to https://www.facebook.com/groups/freemarketingforgreatness/.
The American Marketing Association is advising marketers to adopt higher controls.
Marketers may need a more tempered approach to managing customer data and analytics. Transparency and control rise to the top as best practices. In combination, these elements effectively mitigate vulnerability-induced harm on firm performance. Specifically, high transparency and control:
* Reduces the spread of negative word of mouth
* Deters switching, and
* Suppresses negative stock price effect
For its part, Facebook is doing their best at leading with transparency. Data management isn’t a new thing. What happened to Facebook with Cambridge Analytica is pretty much a wake-up call for marketers. As we have entered an unprecedented era of massive online data manipulation with very little regulation, we must be mindful of not falling into abuses of power.
Jessica Campos is an online revenue strategist for professionals, the CEO of Marketing For Greatness, Inc., and founder of MySocialUniversity.com, an online learning center for business owners. In her latest publication The 6 Golden Rules of Social Media, she blends her 15+ years of experience as an attorney and online business owner. As a professional marketer, she created The Visibility Method, a social marketing resource designed specifically for professionals looking to grow their business (B2B, B2C) in a very simple and scalable way.
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