Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook (3)

Millions of Facebook users give up privacy to play words quiz

Over 17 million people have willingly (and in most cases unthinkingly) handed over huge amounts of their personal data to a company they know very little about in exchange for a graphic of their most-used words in status updates.

I know, right? It is, as Comparitech pointed out, essentially a privacy nightmare, but Facebook users can’t seem to get enough of it at the moment.

The quiz app, by Vonvon.me, works out what your most used words were in status updates this year, and presents them as a word cloud which you are then encouraged to share on your timeline. I’ve seen plenty on mine, and I bet you have too.

So far so straightforward – but how does the quiz app get that information? Yep, by mining the information you have posted/logged with the site.

According to Comparitech, that includes disclosing your:

  • 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
  • Info about the device you’re using including browser and language

But it gets worse than that. The terms and conditions (that you have to sign up to when you authorise it to access your Facebook account, but which most people likely never read fully), allow Vonvon.me, among other things, to keep using non-identifying data for as long as they want, store it where they want, and sell it on to any third parties.

And all you got in return was a word cloud. Vonvon is not unusual in this, we’ve talked before about how most apps ask for far more permissions than they actually need to operate, and this is just one that’s gone viral.

But, as ever, it always pays to take care about what and who you hand your data over to. By all means take part in the Facebook quizzes and the like – but just take care about what they’re asking for in return.

Because your personal data is you, it has value and companies such as digi.me are working on ways that you can share it, on your own terms, for tangible benefits. Basically, it’s worth a lot more to you than a word cloud, so protect it!


Back up your Facebook – or risk losing everything

Imagine you go to log into Facebook one day and your account, well, just isn’t there anymore. Scary, right?

Well that was the reality for US journalist Jeff Bercovici when a hacker took over an old email address of his that was associated with the account, and proceeded to change every single thing about it, including deleting nine years’ worth of his Facebook activity.

No red flags, no second chances, everything gone. Not worth thinking about, is it?

You can read the full story here – he is clear that a lot of the blame lies with him, in not having two-factor authentification enabled for his account, and for using an old email address that was in fact so ancient, and so unused, that it had been released back into circulation.

But, those key facts aside, just how easily the hacker was able to change everything about Jeff’s account once he was inside makes for chilling reading. Everything that made the account personal – its name, the profile picture, other pictures, posts and comments – were all either changed or deleted.

Seemingly with no comeback, without raising any security flags for unusual behaviour and with no chance to undo and get them back.

Now, because Jeff is an influential tech journalist based in San Francisco with over 7,000 Twitter followers, this is where his story starts to diverge from the usual user experience, something he acknowledges in his article.

A few phone calls and some insider assistance later, and his account has been fully restored. But, as was clear from the initial customer service response above, Facebook considers that once data has been deleted for any reason, as far as they are concerned it is gone for good.

So, how can you stop this happening to you? While this hacker wanted Jeff’s verified user status for himself, there’s nothing to stop people breaking into any account and taking it over, so what can you do to protect yourself?

Of course, taking all available security measures is a key one, so make sure you have enabled Facebook’s Login Approvals, which texts you a code if you access Facebook from an unrecognised device – ie one that hasn’t been used to log into your account before – and needs that code imputed before you can continue.

But the single most important thing you can do is back up your account. If the key details, such as your contacts, posts and pictures are saved, then anything happening to your account will not be such a disaster, right?

And how can you do that? With digi.me of course  – you can connect your personal accounts, as well as pages, to our app and run regular syncs so that the most important information you are sharing with your Facebook friends is backed up and so can’t be lost.

Check it out here – it’s free to download and use, and you get premium features including universal search, flashback and export ability free for a month as well!

Having your data – or at least a copy of the most important parts – in a place that you own and control (in this case the digi.me library on your computer) is the single most effective thing you can do to make sure that your data stays where it belongs- with you.

And why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Facebook (2)

World’s biggest tech companies failing users on data privacy

Some of the world’s top tech companies are failing users over privacy, according to the most comprehensive research published on the subject.

Firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, AT&T, Orange France and Vodafone were surveyed by an organisation called Ranking Digital Rights using 31 measures that focused on corporate disclosure of policies and practices that affect users’ freedom of expression and privacy.

After examining their user agreements, each was given a percentage grade, with no companies scoring over 65 per cent, and only six scoring 50 per cent. Seven companies – nearly half – only scored 22 per cent.

The report’s key findings were:

  • Disclosure  about  collection,  use,  sharing,  and  retention  of  user  information  is  poor.  Even  companies  that  make efforts  to  publish  such  information  still  fail  to  communicate  clearly  with  users  about  what  is  collected  about  them, with  whom  it  is  shared,  under  what  circumstances,  and  how  long  the  information  is  kept.
  • Disclosure  about  private  and  self-regulatory  processes  is  minimal  and  ambiguous  at  best,  and  often  non-existent.  Few  companies  disclose  data  about  private  third-party  requests  to  remove  or  restrict  content or  to  share  user  information – even  when  those  requests  come  under  circumstances  such  as  a  court  order  or subpoena.
  • In  some  instances,  current  laws  and  regulations make  it  more  difficult  for  companies  to  respect  freedom  of  expression  and  privacy.

“When  we  put  the  rankings  in  perspective,  it’s  clear  there  are  no  winners,”  said  Rebecca  MacKinnon,  director  of Ranking  Digital  Rights.  “Our  hope  is  that  the  Index  will  lead  to  greater  corporate  transparency,  which  can  empower users  to  make  more  informed  decisions  about  how  they  use  technology.”

With the report’s compiler highlighting that there no “winners”, it is clear that the losers are users creating and posting pictures and videos to platforms that are unclear at best about what they can actually do with them.

There was also wide differences in transparency within companies, with Facebook (owner of both Instagram and Whatsapp) found to make better disclosures about its flagship platform and the picture-sharing app than at Whatsapp, which did not always even publish privacy agreements in the right language.

Overall,  Google  ranked  highest  among the eight Internet  companies,  while  the  UK-based  Vodafone  ranked  highest among  telecommunications  companies. The Russian Mail.ru email service ranked the worst with 13 per cent.

The survey also found very low levels of web-based companies that allowed encryption of private content and control access, with the average score across the eight just six per cent.

data global

Facebook data transfers under threat after Safe Harbour ruled invalid

Facebook’s right to transfer personal data from the EU to the US has been dealt a blow after the pact it was being done through was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice.

The Safe Harbour agreement (Safe Harbor stateside) was a voluntary pact set up 15 years ago to get around the fact that US data protection laws are significantly less rigorous than their EU counterparts.

Under the scheme, US companies self-certified that they were talking adequate data security precautions in order to be able to access and use European data.

More than 5,000 US companies take advantage of it, as well as global tech giants such as Facebook, which registers users outside of the US and Canada under its Ireland subsidiary Facebook Ireland Ltd. It is estimated to be reponsible for 83.1% of all worldwide Facebook users, but moves data from Dublin to the US to be processed.

But after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the mass surveillance activities of America’s National Security Agency, which were alleged to include European data, in 2013, Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems asked the Irish Data Protection Commission to do an audit of what material Facebook was passing on.

They declined, citing Safe Harbour, so he appealed to the European Court of Justice, which has today ruled in his favour.

Following the judgement, Mr Schrems said: “I very much welcome the judgement of the Court, which will hopefully be a milestone when it comes to online privacy.

“This judgement draws a clear line. It clarifies that mass surveillance violates our fundamental rights. Reasonable legal redress must be possible. The decision also highlights that governments and businesses cannot simply ignore our fundamental right to privacy, but must abide by the law and enforce it.

“This decision is a major blow for US global surveillance that heavily relies on private partners. The judgement makes it clear that US businesses cannot simply aid US espionage efforts in violation of European fundamental rights. At the same time this case law will be a milestone for constitutional challenges against similar surveillance conducted by EU member states.
“There are still a number of alternative options to transfer data from the EU to the US. The judgement makes it clear, that now national data protection authorities can review data transfers to the US in  each individual case –
while ‘safe harbor’ allowed for a blanket allowance.
“Despite some alarmist comments I don’t think that we will see major disruptions in practice.”

Facebook had yet to comment at the time of publication, but it may well be forced to stop EU-US data transfers at least in the short term, at least until new certified contracts are in place.

Two things are immediately obvious – this will have a wider impact not just for data processing operations like Facebook, but any company that transfers any data overseas for any reason.

And secondly that you can only have true control of your data when you hold it under your own resources, although of course you may need to trade it for access to services from external companies.

If data security and privacy concerns you – and it should – digi.me is committed to giving you back control of your data, for you to use as you wish. Download a free trial here.

Facebook (2)

How to check your Facebook privacy settings

Facebook is a social giant that holds huge amounts of personal information about each of us.

Facebook is also renowned for changing its privacy policies frequently and not necessarily advertising this fact, so it pays to check at regular intervals that you’re only sharing what you post (as well as what you have posted and will post in the future) with the audience you expect.

So, how can you check what your current settings are? Partly in response to criticisms that it wasn’t open enough about what info was being shared, Facebook has a new tool called Privacy Check-up.

Accessed from the padlock dropdown at the top right of the page, the privacy shortcuts panel that opens up gives you options for a quick check of who can see your stuff, who can contact you and what you can do is someone is bothering you.

While these options are helpful, the top option is to open the Privacy Check-up, which then takes you through your privacy basics in three quick and easy sections.

The first looks at your Posts,  explaining that this setting controls who can see what you post from the top of your news feed or profile, as well as showing what your current setting is, and giving an obvious drop-down if you want to make changes for future posts.

The next step is Apps, with a list of what you’ve logged in to with Facebook. It explains that you can edit who sees each app you use and any future posts the app creates for you, or delete the apps you no longer use. It also gives you a link to the App Settings with a reminder that you can edit them at any time.

The third page covers your profile and personal information – so who can see the likes of your mobile number, email and date of birth if you have shared them with Facebook. It also reminds you that you may have shared more information about yourself and recommends you check your About page to see that is up to date as well.

Then you’re finished, safe in the knowledge that you’re only sharing what you post on Facebook with the people that you want to see it.

And, of course, once you’re done, don’t forget to download digi.me for free to back-up your posts and pictures forever, giving you ongoing access to them even if you decide to delete your account in the future.


Friday Fun: Bring Back The Sun

Inevitably the school holidays start and the children are back at home for the 6 weeks of summer and the first thing that happens is it rains! What do you do… You can’t exactly send them outside to play in the rain and unless they are little they seem to be glued to the TV or computer.

Since we aren’t miracle workers here and can’t bring the sun back we thought we would bring you some top tips for how to find things for your children to do using your social networks.

My favourite resource for this is actually Pinterest because so many parents have had the same issue and the best of the resources have been pinned so many times that they come to the surface really easily.  So your first point of call is to do a Pinterest search for rainy day activities.  Just remember to try and give an age approximation – 18 month old, toddler, teenager etc. that way you will find the most appropriate pins.

Sometimes just browsing through your Facebook profile helps as you may see other parents have done some activities that you could do with your children. Make sure you like or leave a comment so that you can find these again another day. (You can always use the digi.me search feature to find them again then. Facebook search doesn’t tend to be much help unfortunately)

I don’t tend to find Twitter that useful for finding ideas and activities unless I ask my followers.  Sometimes it is just worth asking people to see what things they come up with.  Maybe ask what activities they did as a child on a rainy day.  That always comes back with some great suggestions.

What top tips do you have for those wet and rainy summers days when the children are full of energy…


Friday Fun: Footprints

My Digital Footprint This week we have been talking digital footprints. Be that the footprint that we leave behind across every website we visit, or where we knowingly share content via social networks etc.

Whilst looking at some of the different aspects of digital footprints I came across this great piece of artwork by Jenny Hottle that I just had to share.  Whilst the work is from 2011 the sentiment of the article and the art still stands true today.

We all have our own individual identity online and how we share and want to view that is unique.  If you were going to create a digital footprint of your online life what would yours look like?  Would it look similar to this one of Jenny’s or would it be totally different… What unique aspects of your digital life would shine through and how do you think your digital footprint has changed over time?

If I think about my own digital footprint over time you would see my Facebook area being larger than Twitter for personal use, however if you had asked me the same question a year ago I would have said I was more focused on Twitter.  Instagram and PInterest have become more relevant to me and so has Ebay.  That gives you just a little insight into my personal digital footprint… Tell me about yours and how it has changed over time. I would be fascinated to hear about it.

Remember you can always use digi.me to backup your social media digital footprint and keep control of your social media data.  That way if you ever choose to leave a social network you will always have a copy of your data. 

diamond facets

Your Digital Footprint Revealed

Each person is unique like the facets of a diamond as a result your digital footprint online is also unique to you but how do you get to see those unique aspects of your digital footprint?  What patterns and relationships online are unique and valuable to you and how do you identify them in among the reset of the social media noise?

We here at digi.me understand that everyone is unique and we haDigi.me Puts You in Control of Your Social Media Datave been working on a range of different ways for you to interact with your social media networks.  Unlike when you go onto Facebook and view your timeline (or rather what Facebook allows you to see on your timeline) we show you everything you have posted in chronological order.  You can search, save and share that data.  You also have the ability to analyse your content and find your closest connections based on who you interact with most often.  You also get to see the combination of your social media updates from all of your different networks in one place.

If you are wondering who you haven’t been in touch with for a while you can even analyse an older set of updates and see who you might like to reconnect with by starting a conversation with them.  You can find out what your all time top photo’s were and even find out what days of the week you do post most of your social media updates on.

With our Flashback feature you can see what you were up to this time last year across all your social networks, or even look back beyond last year to the ones before that to see what you were up to then. You may be fascinated what memories and moments you come across.

Quite simply digi.me is a tool that opens up social networks on a personal level giving you that granular insight into those things that are most important to you.  If you think there is a feature missing or that you would like all you need to do is tell us and we will look into adding this in a future update.  


Capture Your Personal Data with digi.me for Free

Retrieving Your Personal Information

From time to time we all think about leaving platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  However before we leave we want to make sure we aren’t losing anything in the process but how do we go about doing that?  This article will run through some simple but effective approaches to help you capture and retrieve as much of your personal information as possible. 


When it comes to retrieving your Facebook data there are a few different ways to get your data.  Unfortunately Facebook don’t make it easy to get a copy of everything you have ever put up there and if you want everything you will need to put in a personal data request and from what we hear that can take months for a response.  Officially if you are based in Europe they should be responding within 40 days to your request however history already shows this hasn’t been the case in the past.

In the meantime what you can do to retrieve a lot of your personal data is download digi.me and connect to Facebook to synchronize and retrieve the majority of your personal data.  This will provide you with your wall posts and images direct to your computer and you can export these into an easy to use PDF. To gain access to our private messages you will need to “download a copy of your Facebook Data” which you will find on Facebook under settings. The list of what you will get with this download can be found here and it does include your private messages.


Again with Twitter you can use digi.me to automatically download your tweets as you go which will save you time and effort having to regularly remember to download your archive to keep up with your latest twitter updates.  As Twitter limits the amount of time you can go back historically we recommend that you also download your Twitter archive so that you have all your really old Twitter content.  That way you will have all your Twitter updates that you have ever created to date and all the ones you generate in from when you start using digi.me onwards will also be captured.  There are some very comprehensive instructions from Twitter on how retrieve your Tweet archive here.


Digi.me also works with LinkedIN to help you keep copies of your most recent interactions on the social network.   However you may also wish to put in a request to gain access to every update you have ever made on LinkedIN through their access request page.  They do collect information about your search history and much more. You will be surprised just what this social network really knows about you and your data.

The other useful feature that you may wish to take advantage of within LinkedIN is the ability to export your profile as a PDF.  It is a great starting point for putting together your CV and is a fairly well hidden feature.  There is a little down arrow next to “View Profile As” when you are on your profile page. Click on the arrow and you will find a drop down with a few different options including the option to “Save to PDF”.

Let us know if you have found this article useful and remember to share it with your friends!

What is your Wimbledon Tennis Pose?

Friday Fun: Tennis Poses

The Wimbledon tennis season for 2015 is well underway and no matter who you are supporting it is good to have fun in the sun. When you watch the tennis you sometimes see people dressed as their favorite tennis stars whilst watching on center court but not everyone is fortunate enough to get tickets so we thought why not bring the center court fun online.

Our Friday Fun session today is one to get you looking and feeling like a tennis pro! Get your cameras to the ready with a friend and put together your best tennis poses… If you want to really get into it why not dress up like your favorite tennis star!  Post your picture on Facebook, Twitter etc with the hashtag #tennisposes #wimbledon and let’s see what fun we can all create!

And as a bonus bit of fun, leave a comment for us telling us who you think will be in the men’s and women’s finals.