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What to do if your Facebook data was shared

Posted at 4:39 PM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-09 18:49:00-04

Facebook is sending notifications to 87 million users that their personal information may have been accessed by a third party. 

If you use Facebook to link to your apps, you quite possibly are sharing your profile with an unlimited number of people. Facebook says it is responsible for the improper distribution of your personal information and the company has started the process to make things right. 

Facebook has begun to notify users if their personal information was shared with Cambridge Analytica, which worked with Donald Trump's election team and used your personal information to try to influence voters. 

"It wasn't super hard. I mean, they make an app and they ask Facebook to distribute this and allow access to some of people's profiles and data and they basically got what they asked for," said Alan Crowetz, WPTV Internet Security Expert with Infostream.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday that he is sorry and the responsibility is his. The social media giant knew in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica used an app called 'This is your digital life.' Users took a personality test and gave permission for the app to access their profiles and friends lists, the company used the information to influence voters. 

"You’d be shocked what you could do with data like that and how important it is. In this case, you could dramatically influence a campaign by using variables and information like that," said Crowetz. 

Crowetz adds that there is more at risk. Facebook is linked to many apps, which means if you're using Facebook to log onto a shopping app, for example, third parties can also access that information. 

"We'll tell you to have a separate log on for every site, a separate password," added Crowetz.

He calls this a turning point for Facebook which is now taking a look at all apps and suspending some for misusing information. 

"Facebook could become the next MySpace where everybody was using it and then overnight no one was using it," added Crowetz. 

The movement #DeleteFacebook is also spreading on social media. 

So what do you do? First, go to your settings and then go to the Apps and Websites tab on the left of your Facebook page. There you can see what apps you're allowing access to and you can remove any that you no longer want to receive your information.

Then, the next time you see a fun quiz, survey, or game you want to use... beware.

"Start being a little bit more careful when a box comes up asking for permission to do something. An alarm bell should go off in your head," said Crowetz.