How To Protect Yourself From the Next Cambridge Analytica (Maybe) Part Deux

Cambridge Analytica Mar 22, 2018

I saw another article about locking down your privacy settings on Facebook. It was full of ads and written in the form of obnoxious slides, so I made my own version.

This is the story that won’t go away, or at least it must feel that way if your name is Zuckerberg or Sandberg. One interesting twist is the “story” that much of the Fox News/Blame Obama wing of the media have jumped on.

Tu Quoque

This one takes the form of “Well, Obama did it too!” and “The Liberal Media Thought It Was Great When Obama Did That!” This is, of course, the appeal to hypocrisy. It’s a long-revered and quite overused defense.

It’s difficult to see the point here. Who’s being hypocritical? Does the fact that other people mined Facebook mean it’s a nothing story?

The Obama campaign did use data from Facebook.

“We ingested the entire U.S. social graph,” Davidsen said in an interview. “We would ask permission to basically scrape your profile, and also scrape your friends, basically anything that was available to scrape. We scraped it all(Emphasis added)”

Carol Davidsen was the director of data integration and media analytics for Obama for America in 2011. “The entire U.S. social graph” means everything available from every Facebook user in the U.S. It sounds like hyperbole to me, but the point is that she thinks “scraping” it is both acceptable and desirable.

The difference here is “We would ask permission to basically scrape your profile…” They asked. That’s pretty much the opposite of how Cambridge Analytica did it.

But either way, there’s something worth noting: everyone does do it. They scraped it all. If you have a problem with people taking your data, you have a problem with everyone running for office.

But My Guy Didn’t Really Quoque!

Another popular refrain is “but Trump didn’t really use the data!”

Yeah, he didn’t collude with Facebook. So let’s just forget about it, right? Go back to your cat pictures.

Your Advertising Preferences

Let’s get to the important bits.

Go here. That should open in a new tab. Click on “Your Information.”

Click all those things off.

Click on “Ad Settings.”


Click on “Ads based on your use of websites and apps.” This doesn’t really seem to be related to how Facebook shares your data, but it can cut back some of the creepiness factor when on the site.


Turn this one off.

Now “Ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies.”

Flip that guy to “No!”

And now for a really creepy one; “Ads with your social actions.” Read what this one controls. Ugh!

Just say “No One.”

While you’re here you can poke around the section on the top labeled “Your Interests.” You can see what Facebook thinks you like and remove some stuff you really don’t. (What is up with the icon for Movies???? Yeesh.)

So if I wanted to remove IFLS (I don’t) I would mouse over and click the X.

That should help a bit. Have a good Thursday.


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