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Your Facebook Data Breach Questions Answered

iStock-847576432After two days and hundreds of questions, Facebook's chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg survived 10 hours of questioning by Congress.

Facebook's data practices were the official topic of the hearing, prompted by its issues with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that improperly accessed 87 million Facebook users' names, "likes" and other personal information.

Even after all the testimony, however, many Facebook users and businesses still have questions about what the data scandal means, from what to do if an account is affected to what data Facebook has collected about them. Here are answers to some of the Facebook data breach questions below:

How can I check if my data was compromised by Cambridge Analytica?

Facebook estimates 87 million people were affected and even Zuckerberg acknowledged during the hearings that his own data had been accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

To see if your personal information was shared, you can visit this link. Also Facebook will have a message at the top of the News Feed to let users know if they're among those affected. Here is an example from my personal Facebook account

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 10.46.19 AM

Why were people impacted by this breach?

In 2014, a researcher named Alexander Kogan created a personality quiz that 270,000 Facebook users installed called This is Your Digital Life. Those who participated unknowingly shared personal information — including birthdays, pages they've liked and in some cases, even private messages — to Cambridge Analytica.

The process also shared the data of their Facebook friends. So even if you didn't take the quiz, and your Facebook friend did, you're likely affected.

What can I do if I was impacted?

Whether you were impacted or not, you should take time to review your Facebook privacy settings. You can go to your settings, then Apps and Websites to figure out what apps you have granted permission to connect to Facebook.

However, it's too late for users to do anything to fix the Cambridge Analytica breach. This will just protect users for future breaches.

Can I see what data Facebook has collected about me?

Yes! You can see your data profile by going to Settings > General > Download to download a copy of your Facebook data.

Here is an example from my personal Facebook account:

facebook account

I run a Facebook page for my business, is it impacted by the data breach?

While the data security breach did not affect Facebook pages, Facebook is making numerous changes that will impact business pages including:

  • Domain verification: Facebook created a new process to ensure that only verified owners can edit the way their content appears on Facebook.
  • 3rd party ad targeting options: Facebook is removing ad targeting options that relied on consumer data from third-parties such as Acxiom, Oracle Data Cloud, Experian, Epsilon, and others. According to our Facebook spokeswoman, "This product enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people's privacy on Facebook."
  • More Transparency for Ads and Pages: Facebook will be rolling out several additional changes in the coming weeks to increase transparency and accountability, as well as prevent election interference. These include an authorization process for political ads, a place to view all ads a Facebook page is running and new Page verification processes.

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