Beware the Permissions Asked By ‘Your Most Used Words on Facebook’ Quiz

Do Facebook users realize the permissions they grant to applications that generate the quizzes that often go viral on News Feed?

Do Facebook users realize the permissions they grant to applications that generate the quizzes that often go viral on News Feed?

The latest such quiz to go viral comes from Vonvon, “What Are Your Most Used Words on Facebook?”

Paul Bischoff warned in a Comparitech post that information collected by Vonvon from users who grant permission includes:

  • Name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday and other public information.
  • Entire friends list.
  • Everything posted to Timeline.
  • All photos and photos users are tagged in.
  • Education history.
  • Hometown and current city.
  • Everything users have ever liked.
  • IP address.
  • Info about devices being used, including browser and language.

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And it only gets worse–Bischoff pointed out the following language in Vonvon’s privacy policy that thwarts users’ traditional defense against apps that request too much information—deleting them from their Facebook profiles:

We store data for as long as it is necessary to provide products and services to you and others (including those described hereunder), but some information may remain in backup copies and logs for longer periods. However, you acknowledge and agree that we may continue to use any non-personally-identifying information in accordance with this privacy policy (e.g., for the purpose of analysis, statistics and the like) also after the termination of your membership to this website and\or use of our services, for any reason whatsoever.

We use the information and data we collect in connection with operation, maintenance and enhancement of our services and features, and for other administrative purposes or internal operations, such as communicating with our users, data analysis, testing and research.

In addition, we may use the information and data we collect about you in order to measure and understand the effectiveness of our ads and other content and offer you tailored content, like giving you more relevant ads. For example, your birthday, gender and other demographic characteristics allow us to show you age-appropriate and gender-related content and advertisements. We may also examine and analyze your feedback and answers to the quizzes in our website to serve ads that you may enjoy or find interesting. For example, if a user participates in content around new model cars, we may infer that this user is planning to purchase a new vehicle or that he/she recently purchased a new vehicle. Alternatively, if a user indicates in a quiz that he/she enjoys baseball, we may infer this user is a sport fan. Advertisers of either automotive or sports products may ask us to display advertisements to individuals that have an affinity toward their products.

Vonvon processes personal information on its servers in many countries around the world. Such information may be stored on any of our servers, at any location.

Except as described hereunder, we do not share your personal Information with third parties unless we have received your permission to do so, or given you notice thereof (such as by telling you about it in this privacy policy), or removed your name and any other personally identifying information from it. For example, we may inform our advertisers and publishers how their ads perform or how many users viewed or clicked on their ads. We will ask for your consent before using information for a purpose other than those set out in this privacy policy.

Suddenly, that quiz doesn’t seem fun, after all.

Bischoff offered the following advice to Facebook users:

The easiest way is to avoid online quizzes that require Facebook authentication altogether. Go to the apps section of your Facebook profile–where these data miners often reside–and remove anything you don’t 100 percent trust. Many of them can even hijack your Facebook and post on your behalf. Stick to quizzes that just let you share the results without logging in with your Facebook account, such as the ones on BuzzFeed.

If you insist on authenticating a Facebook quiz app, be sure to check the permissions and read the privacy policy or terms of use.

Readers: How many times has the “What Are Your Most Used Words on Facebook?” appeared in your News Feeds?

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