To cut to the chase, just view the American Civil Liberties Union facebook quiz. I will explain it in full below.
You might be wondering why this isn’t on the whutsIT Tech Blog (editor’s note: whutsIT was a distinct techblog I was maintaining around this time, it no longer exists), but I don’t consider this a huge PSA. I think most people who will read this know what’s going on when it comes to Facebook, I just think they don’t care. I may be wrong.
Let me explain. Every time you “accept” a quiz, or “send” a drink, or “farm” a ville or whatever you’re doing on Facebook, your information is shared with people you don’t know.
Wait, what? No, really. You’re not just answering stupid questions, and you’re not just clicking on funny pictures, and you’re not just showing your pictures to me. When you “Facebook Connect” with an application, you’re eseentially giving whoever made the application all of the information that you put on Facebook. When I talk about “whoever made the application” I don’t mean your friend that wrote a quiz to send you, it’s whoever made the ‘quiz’ software that your friend used to build the quiz.
If all of this seems too abstract or complex, the ACLU developed a Facebook Quiz which shows you exactly what these companies know about you when you use their “apps.”
Is it something to be concerned about? Potentially. Many of these companies probably don’t care, many more probably don’t have any way of truly harvesting valuable information about you. But very quickly they can get your email address, your friends email addresses, and all kinds of other information that can be used to identify you, spam your inbox, call your phone, send you junk mail, and who knows what else. All without you ever even typing a word.
whutsIT will soon write about Facebook Phishing – in otherwords, what people can do with the information you actually DO type into those quizzes about your friends, family, what kind of kisser you are, etc… you might be surprised at what I can do with that information.