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Protect Your Privacy While Having Fun with Facebook Quizzes

12/10/2015

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  • If you are active on social media, you probably have seen quizzes on Facebook.
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  • You may even have taken some of the Facebook quizzes yourself.
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  • They can be fun as you learn the answers to many questions.
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  • How else can you find out:
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  • Which movie character is most like you?
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  • What’s the best city for you to live in?
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  • Who is your best friend on Facebook?
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  • But when taking a Facebook quiz, you may be sharing more information than you get.
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  • When you answer the questions, you may be giving up access to your entire Facebook account, including your list of friends.
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  • Recently, a Korean company called Vonvon offered a Facebook quiz that showed the Most Used Words in your Facebook timeline.
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  • By taking the quiz, you could see the words used most on your timeline in a word cloud that you could then post on Facebook.
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  • ​​The quiz was taken and shared by over 17 million people on Facebook.
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  • Emma, an American college student,
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  • took the quiz right after her birthday last month and posted her Most Used Words results on her Facebook timeline.
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  • Like most people who took the quiz,
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  • Emma failed to read Vonvon’s privacy policy before she answered the questions.
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  • The website Comparitech posted an article comparing the “most used words” Facebook quiz to a privacy nightmare.
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  • The report explained that by using the Most Used Words quiz you are giving the Korean company rights to gain access to:
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  • Your name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday, and other public information;
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  • Your entire friend list;
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  • Everything you ever posted on your timeline;
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  • All of your photographs and photos you are tagged in;
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  • Your education history;
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  • Your hometown and current city;
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  • Everything you have ever “liked”;
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  • Your IP address;
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  • And information about the device you are using, including browser and language.
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  • If you did not agree to share this information, you could not take the Facebook quiz.
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  • The article continued by explaining what Vonvon could do with all of the information it collected on you.
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  • The company could sell the information to third parties and use your information,
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  • even after you have ended your relationship with them.
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  • Vonvon responded to Comparitech.
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  • The article was updated two days later with Vonvon's response.
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  • The Korean company stated that it did not plan to sell information to third parties.
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  • It also changed its privacy policy since the article was published.
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  • Whether or not Vonvon sells Facebook information to third parties is not really the issue.
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  • Even if Vonvon does not sell your information, some other company could.
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  • Businesses can receive permission to get even more information from you and to post on your Facebook timeline if you give them access to your account.
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  • Do you read the privacy policy before you take a quiz?
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  • Probably not, and companies may rely on that.
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  • Do you change the permissions you give a company?
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  • If so, you may be limiting the ability for quizzes to work.
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  • Think again before giving permission to access your Facebook account.
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  • Does the company really need that information? Is taking a quiz worth giving up your privacy?
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  • You can still have fun taking quizzes without giving up your privacy on Facebook.
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  • Look for quizzes that do not ask for Facebook permissions.
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  • For example, the Buzzfeed website has Facebook quizzes that ask you questions,
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  • letting you choose between several answers to learn information about yourself, such as Which City Do You Belong in Based on Your Favorite Color?
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  • If a quiz does ask for permission to access your Facebook account, perhaps you should find a different quiz.
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  • Take a few minutes now to clean up your permissions on Facebook.
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  • Go to the Facebook Apps Permissions page to see which apps have permission to access your Facebook account.
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  • ​​Click on the X icon to remove permissions for any app you're not using any more.
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  • Click on the pencil icon to change permissions for that app.
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  • You can see what permissions the app has and change them to the way you want.
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  • I’m Pete Musto.
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