Facebook quizzes are a privacy threat
When everyone around you is Facebook quizzing, sometimes it can be hard to resist the lure joining in yourself. But next time, breathe deeply and move ...
When everyone around you is Facebook quizzing, sometimes it can be hard to resist the lure joining in yourself. But next time, breathe deeply and move on—remembering the privacy implications we’re about to remind you of.
An online quiz that illustrates the words you use the most on Facebook as a "word cloud" has gone viral -- and it's a great reminder of why you should be wary of connecting ostensibly fun games with your account. UK-based VPN comparison website Comparitech has delved into how it collects not just your name, but also your birthdate, hometown, education details, all your Likes, photos, browser, language, your IP address and even your friends list if you link it with Facebook.
Too many details for a simple game, right? If you agree, you may want to think hard before linking any other FB quiz in the future, because most of them require you to give up a similar list of information.
You'll typically see what details an FB quiz app requires on the page asking you to authorise its connection with the social network. Some apps allow you to choose which info you're willing to share: If you're lucky, you'll be able to give up as little as possible and still be able to play the game.
In this case, the application didn't work properly when I didn't allow it to access most of my details. That said, it's pretty easy to click through and overlook the part where you can choose the info an app can access. And if you've been using Facebook extensively, chances are you've done it at least once or twice in the past.
As we've mentioned earlier, one way to circumvent the issue is to tweak what the app can access. To get rid of older apps you already authorised, click the lock icon on the social network's top right corner and go to "See More Settings." You can see the "Logged in with Facebook" list under the Apps section -- click "x" to remove any application that you don't trust or recognise.
As Comparitech said, though, the best way to protect your data is to abstain from connecting third-party quizzes to your profile. After all, even if you don't care about your privacy, the people in your friends list, whose details some applications also collect, might care about theirs.