How do you protect yourself from Facebook using your data?

Published: Mar. 29, 2018 at 11:15 AM CDT
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The CEO of Facebook announced Wednesday that the social media company changed its privacy settings to make it easier for users to understand and change them. Professor Joseph Bottum, who is a cyberethics professor and the Classics Institute Director at Dakota State University in Madison, said if people are using the website, then they are voluntarily giving out their information. Changing the privacy settings essentially won't matter. He said users won't fully protect themselves until they delete the social media app and not use it any more.

All Facebook users agreed to give out their information when they signed up for an account and agreed to the user agreement. Professor Bottum said people either don't read the agreements so they don't understand their information could be used legally or they read it and just don't understand the legality of it completely.

He believes laws need to be opt-in rather than opt-out when it comes to social media companies using their users' data. No matter what if we divulge our information on a social media platform like Facebook and don't allow Facebook to share it, the company can still expose the data for various reasons.

The reason Facebook has been in the headlines lately is because an investigation showed a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica gained access to more than 50 million Facebook users. That analytics company was hired by President Trump's campaign for 2016.

Professor Bottum said we won't know until all the information is out in the investigation but how it looks right now, this is not illegal and it's nothing new. Users either didn't know this wasn't illegal or they just didn't focus on it. He said the administration for President Obama was praised for doing this exact thing in 2008. Cambridge Analytica gathered information from users in 2014 and this is just now coming into light. He believes it's unfair to Facebook because other companies are doing the exact thing, like Google.

He thinks this is good it's being brought into light though because people need to be aware of how much of their privacy they are giving up. A couple of things to do to limit your exposure is to turn location off on your smartphone camera or turn off the internet if you're just reading a book on your kindle.