With Facebook facing new fraud complaints about how it uses personal data, Stanford computer science professor and online privacy expert Monica Lam has an important message for Canada teens and their parents: Be careful about how you use Facebook because you may be giving away your privacy and empowering teen marketers without even knowing it.
Lam has identified four ways that activity on Facebook can damage your privacy and even impact future college admissions and job prospects:
1. GIVING UP RIGHTS TO PERSONAL CONTENT
Facebook actually “owns” any family photos, messages, and unique ideas that you create and post on the site or via its app.
2. EMPOWERING MARKETERS BY “LIKING” THINGS
With its “likes” functionality, Facebook allows marketers to target you based on the people and things you associate with yourself. Every time you like something, you are giving a bit of privacy away.
3. SHARING INFORMATION ABOUT FRIENDS
By using Facebook to login to other websites, you’re unknowingly sharing much of your friends’ private and valuable data with third parties (and your friends could be sharing your data, too).
4. TAKING QUIZZES THAT STORE PERSONAL PREFERENCES
Any time you take a Facebook quiz, you’re potentially making public a little bit more about yourself and your personal tendencies.
As an alternative to social networking and messaging services that store and monetize your personal information, Lam has created the Omlet chat app [www.omlet.me] — a fun messaging app that allows teens and their parents to easily chat with friends, share photos, post videos, take quizzes, and express themselves without fear of their data being sold or breached.
Using Omlet, teens retain complete ownership and ultimate control of their personal data and can choose to store their data wherever they like (including using popular services like Dropbox).