BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company deal with a data sharing scandal that reportedly affected 50 million people, users of the social media platform have been left to figure out how to protect their personal information online.
Facebook has reportedly called an emergency meeting after it was revealed that data firm Cambridge Analytica acquired the personal data of millions of Facebook users prior to the 2016 presidential election. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating whether Facebook violated a 2011 agreement to protect its users’ privacy. The agreement included a promise to give users notice and ask for “express consent” before their information was shared with third parties.
How can you protect your data from further sharing by Facebook?
Digital rights non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommends Facebook users log in and go directly to the “App Settings” page. From there, click “Edit” under the category “Apps, Websites and Plugins” and click “Disable Platform.”
Users can also be more selective about what information they keep off limits by clicking “Edit” under the “Apps Others Use” tab and selecting specific items to keep private.
According to The Verge, Facebook users can also protect themselves by limiting the website’s access to your location through your iPhone. To do this, go to your phone’s privacy setting and click on “Location Services.” You will be able to disable the location sharing feature entirely or on an app-by-app basis.
EFF claims the harvesting of personal information was not an accident, but an intentional act allowed by Facebook’s weak privacy settings. “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,” EFF argued.