Ever since the big Cambridge Analytica data-collecting scandal exploded, people are far more aware of their privacy, especially if it involves their Facebook account. However, you need more than changing a few settings on your social media profile to prevent companies from secretly profiling you. For example, did you know that the Facebook app collects call records and SMS data from Android devices, things it has absolutely no business with?
Unfortunately, separating the social media site from the rest of our lives isn’t so easy. Over the years, it’s become the norm to integrate your Facebook account with various websites as a means of saving time registering. Doing so is convenient but at the same time highly risky since you are handing over further information to sneaky data-mining companies. The situation is especially nasty when it comes to online dating because blowing your cover could lead to scams or online harassment.
Skip Facebook While Signing up for a Dating Site
A cardinal sin you might easily commit against your own privacy is linking your Facebook account to a dating site to avoid the long registration process. The offer is just as sinister as it is convenient since the data starts leaking both ways. For one, the dating site will carry over several details – such as name, birthday, profile pictures – from the social media page, but you won’t know with full certainty just how much data the site will get access to. Who knows, the dating site might even collect all available information about you but only display a small portion of it on the site itself.
At the same time, Facebook certainly logs what sites you associate your account with – dating sites included – which can be utilized later on by marketing agencies. After the reveal of Cambridge Analytica’s worrisome manipulation, several digital market researchers and privacy consultants have come out of the woodwork, cheekily stating that such data grabs are nothing special. As it turned out, companies specialized in innocent-looking quizzes would have walked away with the “psychographic profiles of 50 million Americans”.
To make matters worse, ‘breaches’ are known to extend to friend data too. In other words, if you take yourself down then you’ll also take friends and family members with you thanks to a huge list of data associated with your contacts. Hopefully these examples have scared you straight and you will avoid attaching any social media account – including Twitter and Instagram – to a dating site and instead opt to create a brand new email address just for the purpose of signing up.
Preparing Your Facebook for a Date’s Visit
Dating sites are known to limit your ability to communicate in order to subtly convince users to opt for a premium membership. Singles who don’t wish to pay are adopting a clever trick where they post a link in their ‘About me’ section, which points to their Facebook page and invites a match to chat on Facebook instead.
Such a tactic is a double-edged sword, especially if you are putting your everyday account on the line. Unless you create a fake page just for this purpose, you will jeopardize your own safety just to save a few pennies. By publishing your social media account people can easily piece together your identity by looking at your profile page, posts and friends list. The golden rule of dating is to never share sensitive information with someone that you just met online, no matter how lovely they might seem. If you do this then you’re making the job of a scammer way too easy.
Regardless how closely you guard your Facebook account, we recommend setting some privacy barriers. Make sure that strangers won’t see any personal data — such as your place of work, birthday, and even pictures — without first asking for permission or becoming a friend. Make sure to only accept someone’s friend request if you know they are trustworthy. Exercising caution will save you from being harassed by weirdos and aggressive ex-dates.
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