Many of us know about the dark side of Facebook quizzes. Some of us are not quite sure. Some of us really want to know what animal matches our personality or what famous medieval warrior we once were. There are some great quizzes out there right? However, there is a dark side to these quizzes that might surprise you. They are data gatherers.
What’s a data gatherer?
When you do one of these quizzes you may be asked to sign into the quiz with your Facebook profile or your email address. When you do this the ‘owners’ of the quiz then have access to your email information (making it easy to spam you or send phishing emails to you). They can also have access to your Facebook profile information, your posts and even sometimes your friend list. The quiz makers then gather that data and any other data that is accumulated against your IP address to form a profile of you.
The companies making these quizzes then sell your data to ad agencies who target you with ads based on your profile. The more quizzes you do, the better they know ‘who you are.’
The best that this can be is that you are bombarded with ads for certain products (and only those products sold by the company who bought your data) and when you click on those ads you are bombarded with more ads for that company’s products.
This is not such a big deal, BUT if you are only seeing ads targeted to your profile you actually see nothing else. So then you become a consumer of the one corporation selling those products. Again you might think this is not such a big deal but what happens next is. Once you are hooked by whatever corporation is targeting you they will slowly add other things into what you see. These might be harmless like Pages of cats wearing funny hats that you are asked to “Like.”
Or they might be sneakily political like Pages saying how awesome it would be if all schools taught Dr Zeus books. That’s not awesome right? But you may be impressionable and you may think it is awesome because you grew up with Dr Zeus and your kids knew The Cat in the Hat really well and all of a sudden you start “Liking” these Pages which aren’t actually about education but about changing how you think.
Are you being scammed?
Data collection isn’t the only thing scammers are after. Completing these quizzes also allows scammers to access your personal details. Do you remember a certain Facebook quiz that went around asking you to name ten concerts that you had attended; one of which was false? Scammers then search the term (for example) ’10 bands I have seen but one is a lie’ on Facebook and a list of people who wrote that is displayed (see image below). This information is often used by people as an answer to a security question on any number of online sites from banking to social media. People who played this game may have unwittingly given away answers to their security questions.
There are many more of these times of scams that are after information that you might use as answers to your security questions.
Quizzes are one of the easiest tools fraudsters can use because they’re so popular. They spread rapidly as people share them. With that in mind;
be skeptical of any quiz that shows up in your feed. Look into it first, before you participate.
Don’t fall into the trap of doing these quizzes. You won’t be tricked into giving away your personal information and you won’t be bombarded into someone else’s way of thinking. At the end of the day who cares if you were a frog or a cat or a princess you are here and now and that’s what is important.