NewsLet Joe Know


Can you trust social media apps with your info?

Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-28 22:15:14-04

Social media apps let you keep in touch with family, quietly lurk on pages and argue with people about politics.

And it costs you nothing, except nearly all of your personal information.

"I'm giving you my name, I'm putting in my email. I'll be posting pictures, sharing updates and information about myself," says Gennie Gebhart with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group.

We expect to have to give up those things as part of using the site or app, but Gebhart says the problem is when the companies get into information that users do not choose to share.

Facebook is accused of allowing political researcher Cambridge Analytica to access user accounts for purposes that people had no idea about. But Gebhart says all social media apps have the potential to give a third party access--it's the price you pay for an account. Some are spelled out in the terms and conditions you agree to when signing up but advocates say the Facebook incident unfairly exposed consumers.

On Wednesday the Arizona Attorney General's Office released a letter it sent to Facebook about how it handles user privacy. Also this week, the Federal Trade Commission announced it was opening an investigation into the social media giant.

Adjusting your account privacy settings can help limit the data that gets shared, but Gebhart believes the burden should still be on the companies.

"Users should not have the burden of making sure their profiles are properly configured to enjoy baseline level of privacy," she said.

And changing privacy settings won't fix what you don't know about.

"If we've learned anything from the Cambridge Analytica scandal--we cannot trust Facebook. We cannot take Facebook's word when it comes to how our data is being collected," she says.

I want to know: are you changing what you do on social media? Guess where I want you to tell me? On the Let Joe Know Facebook Page.