What the Facebook data breach means for you

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg will appear before Congress this week to testify about the sharing of millions of user’s data. Putting into question how safe your information is and how much it’s worth to companies.

Steve Anhalt has been a Facebook user since 2006, 2 years after its launch. He actively uses the social media website to post photos and keep in touch with friends. 

“Facebook is such a huge platform. People use it all the time,” said Anhalt.

But information like his age, recent searches, likes and dislikes could be sold outside of Facebook. Using third-party apps like personality quizzes and games. They ask to access your basic information – and more times than not that information is sold to marketers or other data companies. 

“When they take that information and sell it to a company that now wants to market for health or maybe life insurance, or this would be a good candidate for something that I didn’t even know that exists yet. And I think that’s what we’re seeing with Facebook,” said Kevin Fishbeck, a professor at the University of Mary. 

Through this, political research firm Cambridge Analytica has taken the data of over 80 million Facebook users through a simple third party app, bringing the ethics of the practice into question. 

Anhalt added, “I don’t think that third parties should be selling us off.”

 Fishbeck said, “You don’t pay the subscription fees for Google, you don’t pay the subscription fees for Facebook, you pay it with your data. And that’s what’s so valuable and people don’t realize the value of that data.”

Facebook now allows you to look at your file, meaning everything you have ever done inside the app since your profile was first created. It’s simple to do. Go into your settings, and click “Download a copy of your Facebook data. Enter in your password, and you’ll get an email with the information in about 10 to 15 minutes.”

“They say there’s privacy settings, but obviously, some people have the ability to break through that,” said Anhalt. 

Professor Fishbeck says if you don’t want these companies to have your personal data, simply stop posting to social media.

To find out if your information was compromised, starting Monday, Facebook will notify you at the top of your newsfeed whether or not you are one of the 87 million. 

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