What that Facebook quiz never told you & what it took from you!

Going by my Facebook newsfeed over the last 2 weeks I seem to have an extremely talented and popular friend list . What with the numerous Noble Peace prize winners ,multiple people who were or are in a relationship with Robert Downey Jr or Ryan Gosling & the many who are traveling to exotic destinations.
It certainly is an illustrious group & more of us seem to be adding the ‘same list of achievements’! All thanks to this app which is going viral on Facebook.
Have we stopped and wondered why has someone spent her or his time to create such an app and from the looks of it a few more.
  1. Because it gives them access to your data.
  2. Because your data could help companies target you better via ads & that is potentially a multi-million dollar business
  3. And this is in the best case scenario – only if the data is used legally, never hacked into and the company does not get bought.
Because it gives them access to your data.
While accessing the app you will get this prompt.
Why would an app which is giving you random information need things beyond your public profile? Why does it even need your posts, list of your friends & even your photos(beyond profile pic) if it was not for their benefit?
Because data is a million dollar business.
Remember AddThis or ShareThis; the sites which allow you to share articles across the web. Well, AddThis was bought by Oracle in January for a figure around 150-200 million dollars & the value is not because they allow you to share articles but primarily because under the hood it’s a data company. The AddThis system is designed to scoop up data on web users and the sites they visit & that data could help companies target you better via ads.

Data+Advertising is a billion dollar opportunity & thus they want you to play those quizzes because your data fuels their businesses.

But perhaps your data is not really that safe.
Unless you are quite concerned about your privacy, people taking your information & targeting you via ads, all the above may not a problem. Especially, if it’s big corporates like Oracle or even ShareThis. However, things could get murky when you trust your data with lesser known institutions who by their own admission cannot always take 100% liability for your personal information (Read email id,pictures,friends,date of birth etc).
Sample a few lines from their own T&C & Privacy Policy:
“We make no claims or promises with respect to any third party, such as the businesses or advertisers listed within our Service.”
“Accordingly, we are not liable to you for any loss or damage that might arise from their actions or omissions, including, for example, if another user or business misuses your content, identity or personal information, or if you have a negative experience with one of the businesses or advertisers or their products listed or featured on the site.”
“<Company> may….. also transfer Personal Information to a successor entity upon a merger, consolidation, change of control or other corporate reorganization in which (we) participate”
“As a result, while We strive to protect your Personal Information, We cannot ensure or warrant the security and privacy of your Personal Information or other content you transmit using <company’s name>, and you do so at your own risk. Thus, we encourage you to exercise discretion regarding the Personal Information you choose to disclose.”
And the best of all:
“ <company name> reserves the right to update this Privacy Policy from time to time, with or without notice. If so, we will post its updated Privacy Policy on its WebSite. We encourage you to review this Privacy Policy regularly for any changes….. If you do not cease using our services, you will be deemed to have accepted those modifications.”

So basically they can change their policy anytime which could potentially give your personal information to anyone else and the only way you could stop is by going and reading their privacy policy at that time and then removing the access.

When was the last time we read a privacy policy and then went and re-read it?

This was first published here by Saurabh Parmar, Brand Consultant.