Facebook quizzes are hot on the web, but could expose your information

Quizzes could reveal more about you than you think

CLEVELAND - Which U.S. President are you?

What era do you belong in?

What kind of dog would you be?

What Bible character are you?

Which NewsChannel5 anchor are you?

Chances are, if you are on Facebook, you know the answer to those questions, and many more.  Right now, those Facebook quizzes are the hottest thing on the Internet.

The most popular quiz, so far, is “Which state do you belong in?”  It has received 41 million hits and counting. 

Media experts say the quizzes are popular because they are entertaining, and a way for us to share something of our personalities with each other.  Plus, they give us something to do.

“When I get bored I take them like non-stop because they're fun," said Kent State University student Mari Gannon.

Gannon is like millions of other people who have fallen in love with the quizzes on Facebook. And the reason is simple.

"They have an entertainment value,” explains Stefani Moore, who teaches Mass Communications at Kent State University. “They are fun and silly and there's no scientific methodology really behind them so a lot of it is entertainment and it's kind of self-discovery, so we kind of learn who we are taking some of these quizzes."

What a lot of quiz takers may not realize is the quizzes serve another purpose: they are an easy and free way for marketers to collect data, especially when you share the results of your quizzes with your friends.

“You are now sharing your friends list, your likes and dislikes in music and movies, and those other bits of information available on Facebook and Twitter with whoever made the quiz,” said Millersville State University Communications Professor Stacey Irwin in an interview with moneytalknews.com .

While much of the information provided may seem pretty ordinary, it is a gold mine of preferences and demographic data for marketers.

If you do not want to give up the quizzes, but want to protect your privacy, there are things the experts say you can do:

  • Do not share your results publicly on Facebook or other social networking sites
  • Do not take quizzes that require your personal information
  • Become aware of the privacy policies of the social networking websites you use

Social media experts say not to expect the quiz mania to subside anytime soon. As long as people have questions, and want to share information about themselves in a fun and entertaining way, those quizzes will be around.

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