Given events of recent weeks, it seems reasonable to try and pull all the latest Facebook snafus into one place. So, each week, we’ll be bringing you the latest revelations that have come to light about Facebook’s data collection, sharing and leaking.
Today, we’re looking at the expanding breadth of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, how Facebook “spies” on your private messages and new revelations about healthcare data.
So, what has Facebook screwed up this week?
Cambridge Analytica scraped almost twice as much data as first thought
Initial reports suggested Cambridge Analytica accessed data from about 50 million people but Facebook has revealed, in a recent message.
Adding to that, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said it’s likely the public profile data of every Facebook user – that’s over two billion people – has been scraped by third parties at some point.
And local regulators are concerned with more than 300,000 Aussies caught up in that leak/breach.
No more sexy Messenger chats
It turns out Facebook is using AI to identify content in Messenger chats that breach their Community Guidelines. And while dodgy content gets referred to humans for the final say in whether messages are blocked, removed or reported, it does mean the potential exists for some of your more private conversations and pictures to land in someone else’s hands.
Here’s hoping no-one in Facebook’s censorship team, or whatever they call it, has a liking for voyeurism.
When fixes break stuff
Facebook announced a bunch of updates this week that were designed to limit the access third-party developers had t your data. Which is great news.
But, those changes caused the world’s favourite hook-up app, Tinder to fall over. The fixes broke Tinder’s login service so users couldn’t log in. Although, as one person said to me this week – perhaps what Facebook did was actually fix Tinder!
Not so anonymous health data
The latest revelations, reported by CNBC today, are seriously troubling.
Apparently, Facebook has been trying to get their hands on anonymised health data with a view to de-anonymising it against the personal data they hold. And while they said the data would be used for good and not evil, Facebook’s track record over recent times hasn’t filled anyone with confidence that they could handle the data safely.
It’s not all terrible
If what you’ve read here worries you, there are some things you can do.
You can lock down your Facebook privacy settings so that what you share is less visible to other members opt the Facebook nation (it’s too big to call a community isn’t it?), stop companies from tracking you, delete your contacts and everything else or use a new Firefox extension which blocks Facebook from spying.
And, just to ensure we’re not only reporting bad news, Facebook has made it a lot easier to delete apps in bulk.