Tuesday Tip: How to Change Your Facebook Settings After the Cambridge Analytica News
How To Change Your Facebook Settings After the Cambridge Analytica News
This is the first part of a special three part series on digital security by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Today’s post was written by Gennie Gebhart of the EFF.
You shouldn’t have to do this. You shouldn’t have to wade through complicated privacy settings in order to ensure that the companies with which you’ve entrusted your personal information are making reasonable, legal efforts to protect it. But Facebook has allowed third parties to violate user privacy on an unprecedented scale, and while legislators and regulators scramble to understand the implications and put limits in place, users are left with the responsibility to make sure their profiles are properly configured.
It recently became clear that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, got access to more than 50 million Facebook users’ data in 2014. The data was overwhelmingly collected, shared and stored without user consent. The scale of this violation of user privacy reflects how Facebook’s terms of service and API were structured at the time. Make no mistake: This was not a data breach. This was exactly how Facebook’s infrastructure was designed to work.
In addition to raising questions about Facebook’s role in the 2016 presidential election, this news is a reminder of the inevitable privacy risks that users face when their personal information is captured, analyzed, indefinitely stored and shared by a constellation of data brokers, marketers and social media companies.
Tech companies can and should do more to protect users, including giving users far more control over what data is collected and how that data is used. That starts with meaningful transparency and allowing truly independent researchers – with no bottom line or corporate interest – access to work with, black-box test and audit their systems.
Finally, users need to be able to leave when a platform isn’t serving them – and take their data with them when they do.
Of course, you could choose to leave Facebook entirely, but for many that is not a viable solution. For now, if you’d like keep your data from going through Facebook’s API, you can take control of your privacy settings. Keep in mind that this disables ALL platform apps (like Farmville, Twitter or Instagram) and you will not be able to log into sites using your Facebook login.
Log into Facebook and visit the App Settings page (or go there manually via the Settings Menu > Apps ).
From there, click the “Edit” button under “Apps, Websites and Plugins.” Click “Turn Off.”
Gennie Gebhart is a researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF was founded in 1990 to protect the rights of technology users, a mission that expands as the digital world evolves. They provide leadership on cutting-edge issues of free expression, privacy, and human rights. CREDO and EFF have been long-time partners in the fight for privacy and civil liberties, and CREDO members have voted to donate over $323,000 to the organization since 2007. This piece originally appeared in EFF’s Deeplinks blog.