How to protect your privacy after Facebook reportedly mishandled data

Reports over the weekend said Facebook mishandled data from more than 50 million users. (Source: WOIO)
Reports over the weekend said Facebook mishandled data from more than 50 million users. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Reports over the weekend said Facebook mishandled data from more than 50 million users.

The social media giant allowed Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm once employed by the Trump campaign, to gain access to that data.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is about $5 billion poorer now.

And millions of Facebook users are wondering if their profiles were accessed without their permission.

Some people are so fed up they're outright deleting their accounts. #DeleteFacebook was trending on Twitter Monday night.

Cleveland 19 spoke with a social media expert who says something needs to be done to protect our privacy online.

"It's almost so high level we can't really grasp the magnitude of giving up our data," said Jennifer Grygiel, a social media expert and assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University.

She says people have trusted Facebook with their information, but this scandal is a wakeup call.

"Just knowing when we click connect and authorize they can access everything from our Twitter data to Facebook data etc. And we give out a lot of information about ourselves, everything we like and share and who we connect with and who we follow, things like that can all be tracked," Grygiel said.

There are several things you can do to protect yourself, including:

  • Do a sweep of your privacy settings.
  • Decide what you're comfortable having the public see versus your friends and family.
  • Avoid personality quizzes on Facebook that can collect data.
  • Don't reveal anything too personal in your posts.
  • Disconnect any apps if you're not using them.

"So just going and disconnecting that plug essentially that authorizes them to send your data from Facebook to outside parties," Grygiel said.

She says Europe is leading the way on the regulation of privacy online, and she hopes lawmakers here will start to take note.

"It's really the public demanding better accountability and more transparency and people working at these companies on things like data privacy," Grygiel said.

If you want to see what information Facebook thinks it knows about you, check under "Facebook Ads."

This will bring up pages you've "liked" and interests its algorithm has picked up on.

You can remove these ads, but unfortunately it does not stop companies from tracking you.

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