[ALERT] Facebook Surveys and Quizzes
Social media is awash in little quizzes, games and surveys that pop up in your timeline and charm you into participating in them. Who can resist reminiscing about their first car, first love, or first job? But watch your responses carefully -- they may reveal the hidden keys to your online privacy. Here's what you need to know...
Why You Shouldn’t Play Those Facebook Quiz Games
“What was the name of the street you grew up on?” If that sounds like a mini-quiz question, congratulations! It’s a very common one. You’re supposed to reminisce, inspire memories among your friends, and talk about the good old days of your childhood neighborhoods. There’s just one problem with doing that online.
“What street did you grow up on?” is a common “secret” question asked by banking and other financially sensitive sites. The answer can be used to reset your password and regain access to an account, or it can be used by a hacker to hijack your account. If you played the quiz game, you gave away the answer to one of your “secret” questions and encouraged friends to do the same. D’oh!
The make and model of your first car? The name of your first pet? Your first job? These and similar questions are asked by quiz games and bank sites alike. If you can't resist the urge to participate, you should lie to one of them, and I bet you know which one it should be.
That’s right: lie to the quiz game. After all, it’s just a throwaway bit of amusement, not a legal deposition under oath! Save the true answer for your banking site because, as Judge Judy says, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember what you said.” You can just repeat the truth which does not change from day to day.
Tell the world (and the quizzes) that your favorite movie is “Waterworld” or any flick with Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. The world may point at you and laugh but at least your secret question’s answer will remain secret. That’s what counts. My first pet’s name was, “Cute Baby Lizard.” Honest! Hey, I was only 4 years old, OK?
Beyond the possibility of compromising the keys to your online kingdom, there is a serious privacy concern with these online games, surveys, and personality quizzes. Each time you participate in one of these, you'll notice a popup that asks you to give permission for the quiz to access certain bits of information. Commonly, the quiz will request access to your Facebook profile information. That includes your name, gender, location, photos, activities, interests, education and work history, relationship status, groups to which you belong, and other info.
Are you willing to hand over all of that sensitive and personal information to an unknown person, just to find out what animal shares your personality, your dominant spiritual color, your true emotional age, how many commonly misspelled words you know, or the Harry Potter character you most resemble?
Unintended Consequences - Part 19
Giving away seemingly inconsequential information about yourself can have serious real-world consequences. Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based upstart data analytics firm, claimed they could predict how Americans would vote. To make such predictions accurately, you have to understand what makes people vote one way or the other. Big data - enormous dossiers of seemingly trivial facts and inferences about each member of a population -- can be crunched to answer that seemingly impossible-to-answer question.
Nobody has bigger data on Americans than Facebook, right? (Actually, Google’s treasury is ten times bigger and older than Facebook’s, but that is a tale for another time.) Cambridge Analytica obtained Facebook’s deepest data on some 50 million Americans, created a simulation model to turn that data into a prognostication machine, and attempted to sway voters in several elections.
Cambridge Analytica calls its method “psychographics” and says it’s built upon over 5,000 data points it has on some 230 million Americans. Kind of sounds like Professor Hari Seldon’s “psychohistory” algorithm that allowed him to predict the future in probabilistic terms. (Come on, there must be some Asimov fans among my readers!) But psychohistory actually worked, at least in the Foundation Trilogy’s fictional world.
Psychographics, the mathematically mystical “science” coined by Cambridge Analytica, was never actually used on any 2016 election. It wasn’t ready for prime time. In fact, the New York Times and other outlets reported, there was no algorithm beneath the shiny new hood ornament named “psychographics” at the time Cambridge Analytica sold its services to campaigns nationwide. It was all smoke and mirrors! But still, they ended up with all of that data, and we have no way of knowing who else with whom Facebook may have "shared" all the (presumed private) details of your life.
What do you think... is it any coincidence that quiz game developers and big data miners want answers to the same questions that banks ask for security purposes? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Apr 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [ALERT] Facebook Surveys and Quizzes (Posted: 11 Apr 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved