Could you have helped Trump win in 2016 just by taking a silly facebook quiz? It is entirely possible that you did.
One of my passions is data privacy. I founded the National Political Do Not Contact Registry in 2007 to stop politicians from invading our privacy and in 2008 founded Privacy Camp, an unconference for data privacy. For some years, I ran a twitter chat called #PrivChat with some of the leading thinkers on data privacy in the world. I still run @PrivacyCamp on twitter and facebook.
I’ve spent the past decade trying to convince my friends that taking facebook quizzes, while fun, meant that they were sharing their personal data with companies that they had no idea who they were.
This past week we learned that the Trump campaign and their consultants, Cambridge Analytica, used facebook quizzes to steal consumer data to build models that they then used to win the 2016 election.
I’m not going to spend a great deal of time getting into the details (you can read the articles below). What I will say is this:
Please please please stop taking facebook quizzes. Stop allowing 3rd party applications access to your personal information and your friend list. I know it is fun to find out “What Star Wars character” you are.
But, you know what is much more fun?
Having an election system in which we can believe.
Will you commit to never taking a facebook quiz again? No matter how much you want to know which Game of Thrones character you are most like 🙂