As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promises to investigate apps that access users' information, 2 Wants To Know if there's anything you can do to protect your data.
This all started earlier this month when reports came out that Cambridge Analytica, a British company, used data obtained from a quiz thousands of users took on Facebook to influence elections. Giving information to third parties is something many Facebook users might be doing without realizing it.
"Nobody is breaking into your data in these situations," explains Ananda Mitra, a communication professor at Wake Forest University. "You gave them the data. It is you who mindlessly did this, so the key to me is being mindful."
Mitra has studied Facebook and its impact on society for the past decade. He says taking a quiz on Facebook or playing a game through the social media site might seem harmless, but they are actually third parties that can access your data. Unless you read the fine print (let's be honest, most of us don't), you don't know when or where your information might be used. What might be scarier is that once you agree to give them your information, there's no taking it back.
"If you have done it, then it's done," Mitra explains. "Even if you canceled Facebook, it doesn't make any difference."
While you can't erase the past, you can be proactive going forward.
"A lot of folks, I think they create their account, they go out, they share everything and really don't think about it too much," explains Danielle Hatfield with Experience Farm.
Hatfield recommends regular privacy check ups. To do that, you can go to your account, click on the drop down arrow and go to settings. From there, you can click on the privacy tab to control who is looking at your page, which apps are connected, even your settings on ads.
"We should all go in and really think about how we're using Facebook and what we're sharing," Hatfield explains.
That goes for apps on your phone, too. When you download an app for the first time, often times you'll get asked to log in through Facebook. Mitra recommends creating a new account for all your apps. That way you can control the information, and you're not giving out your Facebook login info to other companies.