How to protect personal data on Facebook after data debacle

- Your personal data collected and shared without your permission -- and it all started with your Facebook page.

The social media giant admits that an analytics firm linked to President Trump's campaign accessed and stored data from 50 million people.

The allegation is Facebook knew that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining company fetched the personal data of 50 million of the network's users for political purposes - and the social giant failed to do much of anything about it.

Cyber & Privacy Risk expert David Derigiotis with Burns and Wilcox, says the problem started small. It began with a 270,000 people answering a questionnaire.

"That app collected and harvested data on all those 270,000, their friends on Facebook, and it spread like a virus from there," he said. "So it collected information on that person's friends and that person's friends and so on..." 

That happened until it reached 50 million users. Facebook suspended its relationship with that original data collector, Cambridge Analytica. 

As stock prices for Facebook plummeted during the day, Facebook creator's net worth plunged. At one point he lost $5 billion in a few short hours of the stock market opening.  

So what type of information of yours is being shared?

"Religious affiliation, where you live, your hometown, whether you own or rent a house," said Derigiotis. "Anything you can imagine that is tied back to your personality or the type of things you buy or your political affiliation."

The easy fix is all in your settings. Without even realizing it, you're volunteering so much of your information. On your desktop, get rid of what they can access. On your phone, Derigiotis shows you how to protect yourself. 

"It's important go into the settings section and limit that information that we're sharing with other people and friends in your app," he said. "Things like your birthday, family and relationships, items that we're interested in, our religious and political views and affiliation can be all collected."

There's a call for tighter regulations to safeguard your info, but some experts say we may be pointing the finger the wrong way.

"When we are signing up, there may be a terms and conditions," said Michael Paulin, Chief information Officer-Burns &Wilcox. "Too often, we rush right past that and go about our business. Buried within that we may be giving away our rights."
 

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