If you are like millions of Americans, you probably have a Facebook account. Maybe you use it a lot, or perhaps you hardly use it at all.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress this week to talk about what Facebook is doing to protect the privacy of its users.
When was the last time, if ever, you checked the “apps and websites” section as well as your privacy settings on Facebook? You should also check your ad preferences. According to Facebook checking your ad preferences allows you to “learn what influences the ads you see and take control of your ad experience.”
You may have clicked or “liked” items posted by friends in the past. When you did this, you may not realize that your “like” has become an “interest.” Check the categories listed under “your interests”. You’ll be shocked by what shows up.
Facebook allows you to control how much of your data is shared, including your employer, your relationship status, and your education. We advise our clients to limit the exposure of their private information across all social platforms.
When advertisers want to target a specific group of customers who, for example, are a particular age and have a specific political affiliation or interest, Facebook makes that possible. The things you share and the inferences Facebook makes about you are bundled together with similar people’s data, stripped of names and sold to companies. Businesses then use the data to put ads in front of people they want to reach.
Facebook is free to use, and they earn revenue by selling ads to businesses and companies worldwide. While it’s great to use a free app like Facebook, take the time to check your settings and gain some control over what you are sharing with the world.
As a law firm, we make recommendations to our clients about social media. We recommend changing your privacy settings so only your friends can see what you post. Don’t ever accept a friend request from someone you don’t know.
Before you post something, think carefully. Once you share something on any digital service, your personal information leaves your control.