It seems important that, in light of the recent Facebook data leak, we learn the truth when it comes to our own privacy protection. How can we navigate Facebook safely and openly, without fear that our information will be sold to third parties? Shuey Shujab, the managing director of Whitehat Agency, tells ECX about his advice for consumers and businesses alike.

According to Shuey, third parties like Cambridge Analytica can access our basic profile information as well as our engagement with various posts — such as the things we like, click on, and comment on. “However,” Shuey says, “this data can only be revealed to third parties if a Facebook user’s privacy settings allow it. Additionally, Facebook does allow the collation of data if the intended purpose is for research and said privacy settings allow for this.”

This could definitely be a growing concern for Facebook users who do not take appropriate action to protect the data and information that they want to be kept private.

The lesson here seems to be that as long as you’re aware that social media platforms are monitored and not completely private, then you shouldn’t be too concerned about what third parties may do with the information you provide. If you’re worried, Shuey’s advice is simply to make sure your privacy settings are updated on all media accounts. Browsing the internet on incognito mode can also help to rid your browser of tracking cookies and viewing history.

“If you can remember, try and log out of Facebook whenever you’re not using it as Facebook can still track your movements. Also, one last tip – try and avoid participating in quizzes and surveys where they ask for you to fill out a form with your personal details,” he says.

Digital footprints, at the end of the day, shouldn’t be viewed as entirely negative and invasive. In light of the new media age, marketers often just use our data to help them tailor their content to our specific needs and desires. YouTube’s ‘recommended’ list of videos or Amazon’s ‘you might like’ section is helpful to us, and to marketers who want to make properly informed decisions when targeting specific demographics.

“It’s important to remember that the Internet is not a private platform, as we continue to integrate our online world into our offline world more and more routinely. Whatever you put out on the Internet is open for anyone to see, so be smart with what you do and don’t want online,” Shuey concludes.

Editor/Writer for ECX.

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