It’s been all over the news, so we won’t go over it, but the Cambridge Analytica scandal has meant that a lot of people have decided to delete their Facebook profile. However, that’s not as simple as it sounds for many of us.
Since it’s not so simple as “delete your account”, here are a few ways that you can check what is known about you, and what you could do to fix anything that concerns you.
First – head over to this page on the Facebook help pages which will tell you whether they believe your information was part of this leak.
Second – head over to the updated Apps and Websites page on Facebook. Facebook has updated this page to make it easier for you to delete any unknown or unused apps and logins – all those times you’ve logged into a website with your Facebook account? Those are listed here as well. Tick all the items that you no longer use or recognise, and tap that Remove button!
Third – Download your data. Click the down arrow in the top right of any Facebook page (next to the help icon) and select Settings, then click the link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” (at the bottom of the General Account Settings page, which should be the first page you see). Click “Start My Archive” and you’ll be notified on Facebook when that’s available to download. Make sure you download on a desktop computer, not a mobile device as it’s a zip file full of HTML pages linked together to make browsing through your data easier. It’s pretty surprising (and interesting!) to see what Facebook knows about you.
Fourth – Check out this article by Wired about deep diving into the settings that Facebook has. This includes how to control what adverts Facebook can show you which is always a bit creepy!
Finally – As a last resort and a fresh start, delete your account. Or perhaps create a secondary account so you have one for your personal life and one for your blog life. Deleting and creating a new account means that Facebook will no longer have access to some of the older data they hold for you but could be more of a hassle than you really want. (And who really knows what they’re doing with the older data. Could they link the old and new accounts? In theory, at least)
Facebook is a wonderful tool, but knowing what they hold on you and how they hold it is so important and you should keep yourself updated on a regular basis (which is true of any social networking platform!)