How Safe Is That Facebook Quiz?

December 6, 2015

12:00 pm

I think most of us feel pretty secure with Facebook. Of course every time the social network releases a new feature or switches things up, a large percentage of the population  will freak out, but in general, Facebook has done a good job of keeping one of the most popular sites in the history of the internet mostly secure.

However, the same can’t be said for those quizzes that use Facebook as a sharing platform and require you to use your Facebook login. These are not official Facebook quizzes, but quizzes developed by different that have their own security and privacy settings.

“What Are Your Most Used Words on Facebook?” is a popular one that has been floating around in the last couple weeks. Both the New York Times and Internet security website Comparitech called this one out because of the many parts of a user’s Facebook account that it requests access to. Just a few of the many pieces of info this particular quiz requests*:

  • Name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday, and other public info;
  • Entire friend list;
  • Everything you’ve ever posted on your timeline;
  • All of your photos and photos you’re tagged in;
  • Education history;
  • Hometown and current city;
  • Everything you’ve ever liked;
  • IP address; and
  • Info about the device you’re using including browser and language.

The quiz was created by a Korean company called Vonvon. They also created such classics as “Who Are the Hottest Friends Around You?” and “What Do People Talk Behind My Back?”

So what exactly is this company doing with all of your information that it is no doubt storing? After the Comparitech article spread, Vonvon claims to have not sold any of the data to third parties. Their CEO, Jonghwa Kim, even spoke to Venturebeat in an effort to clear things up after the recent bad press:

“There are some false rumors that we are trying to capture people’s information so we can sell it to third parties,” Mr. Kim said. “We don’t really get any meaningful information when people use our apps. And when they share it on their walls, it really doesn’t have much information about them.”

If that’s the case, why are they asking for this information in the first place? Unfortunately, Kim doesn’t really have a good answer for that. He says that they don’t even have any information to sell.

I guess the moral of this story is, we don’t really know what these companies are doing with your information once you log into your Facebook account and share it with them. To be on the safe side, stick with quizzes (if fighting the urge to take these quizzes at all is impossible) from sites like Buzzfeed that allow you to share your results without asking you to login.

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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy

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