How online quizzes steal your data and why you should be concerned

Most people love to talk about themselves. Even the emo edgy ones among us occasionally feel the need to inform others of their edgy state of being. Social media in its entirety is based on people’s vanity projects. And one of the largest providers of that vanity is online quizzes. Because we all like to know which brand of toilet paper we are. And there is not much wrong with that. But what if the cost of finding out your designated light-sabre at Hogwarts is your personal information turned into packets of data?

Facebook’s data breach through quizzes

We’re all familiar with the tendency of companies to use data from our internet usage into targeted marketing strategies. Whether the perceived convenience of such practices holds up against ethical code is a different issue. But the discretion with which these tactics collect information that one might not want to share is often frightening.

Just this March, news broke of stolen data collection through Facebook quizzes. While users took a quiz, a browser extension was auto-installed on their computer. This extension siphoned personal data like name, gender and profile picture. And then it resulted in targeted ads that looked like the average Facebook ad. Facebook even filed a lawsuit over this.

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How you compromise yourself and why it matters

This goes to show just how vulnerable our security is on the internet. Seemingly harmless activities give away information you don’t even know is important. Even less discreet methods; questions on quizzes like “What is your name/gender/etc” can go a long way in compromising your personal safety. The result might seemingly be just targeted ads, which many don’t even mind.

But data like that may result in companies easily being able to categorize your personality index and even subliminal suggestive advertising to make you purchase things you don’t even want. Think about it, did you really ever think you needed those exercise equipment you bought online before you did?

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Steps you can take

Knowing about how data is stolen can go a long way in preventing it. Always try to notice what extensions, add-ons or login information any online page asks for. Don’t give out sensitive information or even basic information about yourself. And please try to take these quizzes less often. You can do without knowing what type of onion you are today.

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