What can regular Facebook users do to safeguard their personal data other than deactivating their account?
The question for many people is really how can they exercise more control over what Facebook knows about them:
- It’s important to remember, even deactivating Facebook doesn’t erase the history of data Facebook has already collected on you, and the more Facebook was used, the more data it collected.
- One of the best ways to manage what data you’re handing over is to review what apps you have connected to your Facebook account. You can also really think about what information you are posting and how you are using Facebook beyond actually looking at your timeline – for example signing into other services through Facebook.
- Concerned users can use Facebook minimally. For many of us, leaving Facebook is like leaving our social networks, but users can treat Facebook as a directory of contacts and choose to move more conversations offline. This is valuable because the most precious data Facebook harvests from you is behavioral. It’s all about our social networks, our friends, our hobbies, etc., and using that information to guess what our preferences are. We’re generally okay with advertising firms doing this when selling us shoes, but not when political campaigns are trying to influence our votes.
This is a reversal of the way users’ relationship with Facebook should work. Why should users extract themselves from their social networks to protect themselves and their data, especially when the data users feed Facebook is Facebook’s lifeline?