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Cambridge Analytica, are you safe on Facebook?

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has been all over the news. Mark Zuckerburg was even called to testify before the US Senate on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 as a result. If you are wondering why, it turns out Facebook has been selling profile information to various companies that use it to tailor advertising and political campaigns. The problem is that this transaction is being done without permission from Facebook users.

What does Cambridge Analytica do?

Recently, the internet was trending #deletefacebook as a response to the data mining scandal involving consultancy group Cambridge Analytica. This company boasts on its website of having a client list that includes US President Donald Trump as well as Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.
So who is Cambridge Analytica? There are two sides to Cambridge Analytica, commercial and political and it is the latter that has stirred up controversy in the last few weeks. Cambridge Analytica serves both multinational commercial companies as well as political parties. It views itself as a leading data service provider that helps politicians find, understand, and engage with voters more effectively, a full political campaign management service.

T&T residents and Cambridge Analytica

During the 2015 General Election in Trinidad and Tobago, residents reported receiving letters, phone calls and texts messages not just urging them to vote but to vote for a specific political party which was recently accused of retaining the services of Cambridge Analytica.
Christopher Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistle-blower, appeared in front of U.K. lawmakers where he spoke briefly about Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in Trinidad and Tobago.

How do I know if I was a victim

In an effort to save face, on Monday, April 9th, 2018, Facebook released a tool that would determine if your Facebook profile and those of your friends were victims of data mining. Click here to use Facebook tool.
As it turns out, Facebook was the source of most of Cambridge Analytica’s data extraction, in particular, 87 million users who used the app called “This is your digital life”.
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Even if you personally did not use the app but your friends did, your information may also be at risk. Just follow this simple rule when using social media and you should be safe:
One thing that has been made apparent by the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal is that your friends sharing your information may be just as bad. So, be careful with what you share and whose information you share online.
April 2018

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