Are you a Facebook and/or a WhatsApp user? Do you know what information has been collected about you, your activities and those with whom you’re in contact? Do you care?
Given the furore over the last week about the use of Facebook data, who has access to it and what they might be using it for to influence your behaviour and actions unwittingly, this is something you should seriously consider finding out.
Accessing the data Facebook holds about you can be achieved in a few easy steps:
- Login to Facebook
- Go to Notifications (icon in the bar at the top)
- Click on Settings
- Highlight General near the top of the left hand side to see your General Account Settings
- Click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data”. It’s in the large empty space in the middle of your screen
- Click on Download Archive
- You will then be asked to enter your password and Submit
- Finally you will get a message from Facebook saying that they are gathering your information and will send you an email message when your data is ready. The message takes about an hour to arrive. When you receive it click on the link which takes you to a Facebook page. You will be asked to enter your password again before you can download the file. The file you download is a zip file. You will need to open and expand it to view the contents. Happy browsing!
If you don’t like what Facebook has collected about you, there is little you can do about the historic information apart from some personal details you may have given them such as your date of birth, high school, town you were born in etc. You may wish to change some of these.
Looking forward you could in future randomly ‘Like’ things you don’t like and indulge in other behaviour occasionally that obfuscates your character and confuses any profilers – according to your level of sensitivity.
At the extremes, you could carry on as before or you could stop using Facebook altogether. The choice is yours.