The Facebook Data Scandal, What Have We Learnt?

Hello  readers. It’s been a little over a month now since the Facebook data scandal erupted on the news. For the most part reporters have moved on to new stories.

White background, words such as facebook, media, youtube, web, friends, Flickr written all over in print

However as a result of the story people have begun to debate the issue of how companies collect, store and use data from individuals when they are online. The #deleateFacebook hashtag trended in the days and weeks following the scandal. The news reported how Facebook users were horrified at the potential misuse of their data.

Personally I wasn’t shocked  by subsequent stories of how much data is collected by various companies. I remember reading something a while ago that said something along the lines of ‘If the online product you’re using is free then YOU are the product’. To me this makes sense. Nothing comes for free, so companies like Facebook have to gain something from the millions of users.

Further more I was aware of how companies used data from online activity to influence adverts shown to people. If I search for something on Ebay or Amazon, products I view there will soon show up in adverts on Facebook. When I was getting married adverts were influenced by my Facebook statuses. For example when I mentioned going for my wedding dresses fitting, adverts for dresses turned up. Even though I never looked at wedding dresses online.

Because of my own understanding on data collection, I was surprised by the reported reactions of other people. Shocked at finding out that just about everything they searched for, posted or viewed online was recorded somewhere. This got me wondering if the views of people I knew online would be like my own, or more in line with the media reports.

To find out more about people’s views on the issues, I set up a series of polls on Twitter.

Q1 – Will You Delete Facebook?

Screenshot of twitter poll. Q1 - will you delete facebook? Yes 13%, No 65%, not yet but still thinking about it 21%
The first of my polls went straight to the heart of the matter. Were people bothered enough by the scandal enough to actually go through with the delete Facebook trend? The results showed the majority of people weren’t. It is worth noting that many people who responded to this question said they couldn’t delete Facebook because they are reliant on it for blogging or other businesses.

Q2 – Are You Surprised At The Type And Amount Of Data Collected?

Screenshot of twitter poll. Q2 - Are you surpriaed at the type and amount of data collected? Yes a lot 11%, a little bit 15%, surprised at the amount 15%, not surprised at all 58%

This question was not focused on the alledged data leak, but to do with data collection in general. Companies like Google and Facebook can collect a huge range of data from people’s devices. Everything from phone numbers, emails, the locations when they log in to apps, private messages and even what emojis people use.

Due to the reported outrage shown in the media I thought people would be unaware of the type and amount of data collected, but almost 60% of people who answered said they weren’t surprised at all. Some pointed out that data is collected from people all the time, for example in supermarkets when people use their loyalty cards.

Screenshot of tweet. John Want - are you specifically focusing om Facebook and Google because of recent press? Tesco probably lnow more about you than they do. All big businesses have data on us, not just those two
Personally I fall into the surprised at how much data has been stored. Seriously,I know they can record anything, but why would peoples emoji use be of any interest to anyone?

Q3 – Have You Checked Your Security Settings?

Screenshot of twitter poll. Q3 - have you checked your security settings. Checked and updated 27%, checked and not updated 20% nor checked 53%

The results to this question really took me by surprise, because a lot of the people answering the poll are bloggers and therefore quite media savvy. However only 47% of people had check their settings due to the scandal. It is possible the other 53% are quite happy with their level of security and felt no need to check, but even so I expected more people to have made the be checks.
Personally I checked mine even though I believed it to be very secure, and I found things that I could tighten up on.
Screenshot of twitter poll. Q4 are you worried by the informatiom Facebook and Google have on you? A lot 17%, a little concerned 37%, not really 34%, totally not bothered 13%

The results of this poll seem at odds with what was being portrayed on the news. Even if people are not happy about the behaviour of companies like Google and Facebook, they don’t appear to be threatened by it. A lot of people said they try to put as little information as possible out there to be collected. Some use other smart tactics to prevent their data being collected, such as this by @tattooed_mummy

Screenshot of tweet. Tattooed Mummy, no I don't use it and most of the data i have there is lies anyway, but I need it for the blog page

I use this tactic myself to some extent,with fake birthdays and phone numbers etc if asked for those details.

It is clear from the poll results that I’m not alone in my views about the data scandal. A majority of people are aware that any online activity is open to data collection. It seems people are begrudgingly accepting that data collection is what they must put up with in exchange for the benefits they get from being online. That said people are getting smarter about keeping their data safe, and sharing as little as possible, even fake data where possible.

It’s worth noting in my summing up that the majority of people who answered my polls are bloggers. Due to the nature of blogging these people are quite clued up on how social media works, and their answers may not be the same as the average non blogging Facebook user (yes Janet, I’m looking at you).

Were you surprised  by the Facebook data scandal? Have you  changed anything about your online activities as a result if the scandal?

Scientific Fact ~ Bloggers feed on blog comments. Please help keep this blogger well fed♡

Thank you, Mrs A Xx

35 Comments

  1. berni

    May 16, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    the only thing i was surprised about was the surprise shock and outrage. I’ve changed nothing and have no intention of changing anything. xx #lgrtstumble

  2. Crummy Mummy

    May 13, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I haven’t changed anything since this scandal broke – maybe I’m being naive but I always think why would anyone be interested in little old me? I get that that’s probably not the point though! #familyfunlinky

  3. Helena

    May 9, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    When the news broke it made me question my relationship with how I use it. I only use it in two ways and write very little on it. #CoolMumClub

  4. Emma T

    May 3, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    I did go and check my details, but probably because GDPR and the scandal has meant they’re all prompting us to do so. I did find some bits I thought were turned off but they’ve obviously added as new auto acceptance. But my real life friends have no idea mostly. #sharingthebloglove

  5. The Squirmy Popple

    May 3, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I feel like I should be more worried about all the data that big companies like Facebook and Google have about me, but I just kind expect it . I think, “Oh well – that’s just how things go now.” It’s probably not the right attitude, but if we want personalisation, convenience, and all of our connections on social media, our data is part of the price we pay for that. #coolmumclub

  6. Rhyming with Wine

    May 3, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    I can’t say that I was particularly surprised as like you, I can blatantly see that my information is being used to drive “relevant” advertising into my news feed. It hasn’t prompted me to do anything about it as I kind of suspected it anyway, and I don’t think my data would really be that interesting to be fair? 😉 I might just pop over to check out my settings though now… #coolmumclub x

  7. Talya

    May 3, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Very interesting to read everyone’s views on it….have to say I was not really surprised. Loved Tattooed Mummy’s comment above that really made me LOL! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub 100! x

  8. Christy

    May 3, 2018 at 9:47 am

    I’m not surprised. I feel like I was fairly aware of how companies use our data. My husband insists we don’t use a Tesco clubcard for example because of how advertising increases and you get targeted marketing based on them knowing exactly what you bought, from where and even what time of day you go shopping. I definitely think people need to be more aware of what data they are giving out and how it’s going to be used and then make their own decisions about what they use. I think data collection and advertising is part of the new era of technology but we need to make sure our data is used as safely as it can be. #coolmumclub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      May 3, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Im lucky Lidl doesn’t have loyalty cards 😁
      All joking asides, I agree people need to be more aware of how data is collected and used xx

  9. Paola

    May 3, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I am bit bitter because I’ve been warning people of data collection since the start of my blogging and no one listened to me :D. Jokes aside, I did write in the past about how your data is used when you shop online. Your data nowadays is used for pretty much anything that manipulates you. People data is literally what brings food to my table in my IT job.
    We are not ready for this technology as human beings. It saddens me to see how little people know of this movement, even though it concerns them SO much. You know the annoying marketing calls you get here and there? Or the newsletters you get and you’d swear you never subscribed to? That’s your data going places without your consent, or maybe with the consent you’ve given when you distractedly hit a “Confirm” button without reading or understanding the conditions. Ok, enough with the rant 😀 #Coolmumclub

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      May 3, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Its very true that technology is racing along without most of us having even a basic grip of what its capable of x

  10. Tammymum

    May 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Like you I can’t say I was surprised by the revelation or some of the things I have heard since. It’s quite scary what is possible but that said I haven’t stopped using it. I am perhaps more mindful as to how I use it though. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

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  12. Sarah

    May 1, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    I’m no longer on facebook, but even before I came off I would see tons of targeted promotions and adverts based on stuff I’d written or liked. Crazy! #LGRTStumble

  13. This Scribbler Mum

    May 1, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Like you, I did notice early on how adverts shown on my browser or Facebook would immediately reflect what I just wrote or posted. So since then, I have been strict with my settings. But even though I have done that, I can still notice that in some way, they still tailor adverts based on my online activities. #lgrtstumble

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      May 1, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      I know my ebay activity almost immediately shows up in facebook ads. I try not to post statuses these days wirh info about me though

  14. Spectrum Mum

    May 1, 2018 at 6:34 am

    I was concerned enough to consider leaving FB but agree that probably everyone does it. They were only the first to be caught out. I have updated the security settings. Thank you for hosting #LGRTStumble

  15. Melissa

    April 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Cool article. I am not surprised.
    Have you updated your settings? Will we not just get ads anyway but that are less relevant if we update?

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      May 1, 2018 at 4:22 am

      The adds you see will always be based on a veriety of things you do online. The security settings are more about protecting yourself from companies illegally accessing information as Cambridge Analytica did

  16. mummy here and there

    April 30, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    I don’t really like facebook and only use it for a couple of groups that are beneficial to me or else I would delete it. But facebook own Instagram as well which pisses me off, since they brought it out it has gone right downhill. I still use it as I love photographs and wish there was a better one out there. X #LGRTstumble

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      May 1, 2018 at 4:18 am

      Oh I find instagram infuriating now. All I seem to see are days old pictures

  17. Sam - Serenely Sam

    April 30, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Big brother is watching! And they probably know more about me than I do. I don’t like my personal info being collected but I have accepted that that’s the way it is. I’m careful about what I share, but at the same time I’m aware that if someone wants my info that bad then they’d find a way to get it anyway… #FamilyFunLinky

  18. Michelle Kellogg

    April 30, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I was actually somewhat confused by the scandal because of the knowledge I have about the data collection and getting ads pop up on my feed based on things I’ve purchased. I know this was more about trying to discover if Russia had anything to do with interfering with our U.S. election but during the elections, it wasn’t just republicans getting ads. I vote democrat and I got ads too. But I got a lot more of people on my friends list voicing their opinion than getting ads. I’m still not sure what Facebook did was illegal or not or unethical though because we all get ads based on what we click on while using the platform. Afterwards, I did check my settings but I wasn’t too worried because I knew my settings hadn’t changed. When I checked I was right. They were still the same. I still use Facebook for both personal and for my blog. It’s not going to change for me. #LGRTStumble

  19. Malin

    April 30, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Maybe the actual ‘scandal’ is that most people weren’t suprised?! Meaning we’re prepared to sacrifice the safety of our personal details in exchange for the satisfaction(?) we get from facebook etc? Or is the scandal rather that anyone at all was chocked? 😆 x
    #LGRTstumble (and yes lady, your post has now been stumbled by me too)

  20. Alice | Letters to my Daughter

    April 30, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    I wasn’t surprised or bothered particularly. I’ve checked my security details when prompted by Facebook. #LGRTStumble

  21. Bella and Dawn at Dear Mummy Blog

    April 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    We’re not surprised on your findings. I think a lot of people are just MEH about Facebook. We’re only on it to stay connected in bloggers groups. Shame really as it used to be The Social Network, not anymore… #FamilyFunLinky xx

  22. Michele Morin

    April 30, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Also in the sand . . . and I do love Facebook, so I’m still there.

  23. Liberty Henwick

    April 30, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    I have a serious love/hate relationship with Facebook being a blogger I’d struggle to give it up but hate the way I feel after using it. I am not surprised but agree with you, there seems to be a disconnect between what is being portrayed in the media and what people on the ground are saying. However that’s usually the case! #lgrtstumble

  24. Enda Sheppard

    April 30, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Afraid my head is firmly on the sand on this one … I just ignore those ads that follow me. Thing is they usually arrive after I have made the purchase so why bother? Unless they are playing the longer game …but I will have forgotten them anyway @LGRTStumble

  25. Stephanie Simpson

    April 30, 2018 at 10:57 am

    I completely agree with you on this!

  26. Anne

    April 30, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I did answer your poll questions, and no I’m not surprised. Big Brother is everywhere. I remember the first time related ads started appearing and the one that really got me was one for furniture when I’d mentioned nothing at all online about looking for new furniture, but had in fact that day visited a furniture store. It didn’t take me long to work out that I’d had my phone with me, which of course has mobile data and that had been collected just by visiting the store! My older kids are really private and don’t even use Google, and their mobile data is only turned on when they really need to use it. But then, they are not bloggers and don’t require an internet presence like I do. I always say that if you have nothing to hide then it’s not a problem but as the late great Sir Terry Pratchett said, it’s the ones that have nothing to hide that need to be afraid, especially of the ones that do have something to hide!

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      April 30, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      I try and keep my mobile data off as much as posible and have the location thingy turned off too

  27. Ellen Brophy

    April 30, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I’d love to say I’ll delete it but I know I won’t.

  28. Karen, the next best thing to mummy

    April 30, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I don’t intend to give up Facebook, as long as we are sensible about the things we post,it should be alright, hopefully #mondaystumbleupon@_karendennis

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      April 30, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      That’s my view too

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