As some anonymous but folksy wag once put it:
History has a way of chasing its tail and then biting harder.
Older millennials might recall the dubious origins of Facebook and why it ultimately wound up creeping them out:
- First of all, Mark Zuckerberg was a fairly devious partner, and
- Secondly, it was Tinder before Tinder was Tinder.
Thus, it’s not only the fact that Aunt Martha and her crowd were moving into Facebook, it was also because many tech-savvy millennials realized any vestige of privacy on that platform was essentially non-existent.
Facebook, to them, couldn’t be trusted with their data.
Online marketers have had a clue about this, too. After all, who of us hasn’t seen software being offered to us that could scrape Facebook for e-mail addresses to build our marketing lists or for creating a custom audience for an ad campaign?
And all for less than $100 or so.
Just think of what could be done on the high end.
Well, as we all know now, a lot:
Let’s narrow our focus to filter out the political aspects of this flashpoint in the data harvesting scandal and focus on the issue of access to our personal data.
Ironically, to do that, let’s put what happened here in a broader perspective:
When viewed in the cold light of harsh reality, the facts are:
- Facebook’s been paying lip service to fixing its privacy controls since at least 2006; and
- Cyberspace is still the new Wild West, so caveat emptor, dudes and dudettes.
The first line of defense for your personal data is you.
As you’re an online marketer — and if you use their platform, you’ll be affected by the changes, too — it’s highly doubtful you’ll go to the #deletefacebook extreme, so a good start would be to discover what Facebook already knows about you.
- This calls for downloading a copy of your data they’ve collected; and
- From now on, take time to read what any app you download is going to collect.
The company has just announced a re-design for its privacy settings, making them easier to locate and more convenient to use:
One note of caution is in order.
When you download your data from Facebook, think twice about doing the hard copy thing.
Here’s a partial printing of an ABC News producer’s data download:
If that doesn’t underscore what Facebook probably has on you, then congratulations for never, ever being on it.