Facebook to notify users whose data was harvested


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — You can find out next week if you were one of the 87 million people whose Facebook data was collected by a Trump-affiliated data mining firm during the 2016 presidential election.

Unfortunately, if you’re on that list, an expert says you can’t do much. However, Facebook and data mining firm Cambridge Analytica say the information has since been deleted.

“I think if your name is on the list, you’re going to be very upset,” Tim Haines, the owner of West Michigan digital marketing agency Symposia Labs, said.

Symposia Labs generates ads for companies, including Facebook.

Haines explained that Cambridge Analytica got information from users who accessed an app and then clicked OK on a pop-up window asking if they would share private information by signing in through Facebook.

“Would’ve been very easy for anyone to say yes to without giving it a second thought,” Haines said.

But the pop-up may not have been clear about what it meant for users who clicked through.

“That data went into the app that Cambridge Analytica was using … to create a psychographic profile around their ideal voters,” Haines said.

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In an interview this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg owned up to his company’s part in the scandal, saying it must do more to make sure third-party apps abide by its rules.

Haines said Facebook is ramping up its security measures and there are ways you can protect yourself in the future, like using an upgraded privacy checkup.

“Facebook is going to, through this tool, do a complete walk-through of all your different privacy options,” he said. “In the future, I see … the average user becoming a lot more aware of what data is being shared.

“We’re going to have to slow down a little bit make sure we read those tiny little fine print items before we click agree,” he continued.

Haines also says advertisers need to be acting with integrity: Just because a company can do something doesn’t mean it ethically should.

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