Secret social media quizzes
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
They seem innocent enough, but those Facebook quizzes that pop up in your news feed have a hidden agenda. When you take those quizzes and allow access to your Facebook profile, you are helping data firms collect millions of dollars of valuable information. That information is then being used by marketers, retailers, and even political candidates to target you.
“I figured something was happening, but I wasn’t sure what and I still pressed okay,” said Boca Raton’s Tina Russo, who sometimes takes several of those Facebook quizzes in one day.
We scrolled through her feed and were shocked at all of the quiz apps on her profile. The apps that are continuing to collect data from her page. Marketers pay big bucks for that information so they can send you targeted ads in your news feed.
“I had looked at a dress on another site and then it showed up in my Facebook feed. I bought the dress. I thought it was meant to be,” Russo jokes.
But John Latzer, the head of Interactive Sales for Alpha Media, says it was no coincidence. He says every time you go online – whether it’s on Facebook or Google or another site, you are leaving footprints.
“It’s not personal information. No one knows who you are. But what they do know is your IP address,” said Latzer.
They are collecting behavioral marks on you known as "data sets."
Companies could have as many as 5,000 data sets on you.
For instance, the information shows what you like, where you shop, even how you might vote.
Latzer says President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, got Trump elected because he realized the impact Internet marketing and social media could have on the election. He says for years, candidates have relied on direct marketing and TV ads, but the Trump campaign relied heavily on social media.
We reached out to the data company hired by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica. A spokesperson told CBS12 that the company does sometimes use social media for posting personality quizzes, but that Cambridge Analytica did not use this kind of data on the election campaign. The company collected data from personality quizzes posted on its website and other sources.
“I think we’re just at the beginning stages of what social media can do to impact people’s opinions,” said Latzer.
Latzer sees more positives to this kind of marketing than downsides. He says if you’re a dog owner, you should get a dog food ad. And if you’re a cat owner, you shouldn’t get a dog food ad. This information allows marketers to give you information you would be interested in. The only downside he says is if companies start crossing the line and associating the information with the individual.
Russo isn’t taking any chances. She is swearing off Facebook quizzes for good.
“Even though I knew in the back of my mind something was happening with my information – now that I know for sure – I’m not giving them my information anymore.”
The only way to truly stop these quizzes from continuing to collect your Facebook information is to delete the apps from your page.