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Protect Your Privacy While Having Fun with Facebook Quizzes

By taking the Most Used Words Quiz you are agreeing to give access to your Facebook account to a company who then has access to your Facebook information.
Facebook Quizzes - How to Keep Your Privacy While Having Fun
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If you are active on social media, you probably have seen quizzes on Facebook.

You may even have taken some of the Facebook quizzes yourself. They can be fun as you learn the answers to many questions.

How else can you find out:

  • Which movie character is most like you?
  • What’s the best city for you to live in?
  • Who is your best friend on Facebook?

But when taking a Facebook quiz, you may be sharing more information than you get. When you answer the questions, you may be giving up access to your entire Facebook account, including your list of friends.

Most Used Words Quiz

Recently, a Korean company called Vonvon offered a Facebook quiz that showed the Most Used Words in your Facebook timeline. By taking the quiz, you could see the words used most on your timeline in a word cloud that you could then post on Facebook.

Most Used Words Quiz
Most Used Words Quiz

The quiz was taken and shared by over 17 million people on Facebook.

Emma, an American college student, took the quiz right after her birthday last month and posted her Most Used Words results on her Facebook timeline. Like most people who took the quiz, Emma failed to read Vonvon’s privacy policy before she answered the questions.

The website Comparitech posted an article comparing the “most used words” Facebook quiz to a privacy nightmare. The report explained that by using the Most Used Words quiz you are giving the Korean company rights to gain access to:

  • Your name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday, and other public information;
  • Your entire friend list;
  • Everything you ever posted on your timeline;
  • All of your photographs and photos you are tagged in;
  • Your education history;
  • Your hometown and current city;
  • Everything you have ever “liked”;
  • Your IP address;
  • And information about the device you are using, including browser and language.

If you did not agree to share this information, you could not take the Facebook quiz.

The article continued by explaining what Vonvon could do with all of the information it collected on you. The company could sell the information to third parties and use your information, even after you have ended your relationship with them.

Vonvon responded to Comparitech. The article was updated two days later with Vonvon's response. The Korean company stated that it did not plan to sell information to third parties. It also changed its privacy policy since the article was published.

Protecting Your Privacy on Facebook

Whether or not Vonvon sells Facebook information to third parties is not really the issue. Even if Vonvon does not sell your information, some other company could.

Businesses can receive permission to get even more information from you and to post on your Facebook timeline if you give them access to your account.

Do you read the privacy policy before you take a quiz? Probably not, and companies may rely on that.

Do you change the permissions you give a company? If so, you may be limiting the ability for quizzes to work.

Think again before giving permission to access your Facebook account. Does the company really need that information? Is taking a quiz worth giving up your privacy?

You Don't Have to Give Up on Quizzes

You can still have fun taking quizzes without giving up your privacy on Facebook. Look for quizzes that do not ask for Facebook permissions.

For example, the Buzzfeed website has Facebook quizzes that ask you questions, letting you choose between several answers to learn information about yourself, such as Which City Do You Belong in Based on Your Favorite Color?

If a quiz does ask for permission to access your Facebook account, perhaps you should find a different quiz.

Cleaning Up Your Permissions

Take a few minutes now to clean up your permissions on Facebook. Go to the Facebook Apps Permissions page to see which apps have permission to access your Facebook account.

Facebook App Permissions
Facebook App Permissions

Click on the X icon to remove permissions for any app you're not using any more.

Click on the pencil icon to change permissions for that app. You can see what permissions the app has and change them to the way you want.

I’m Pete Musto.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Do you like to take Facebook quizzes? Have you ever thought about what permissions you were giving when you took the quiz? Have you ever read a privacy policy before taking a quiz? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on our Facebook page!


Words in This Story

quiz n. a set of questions about a particular subject that people try to answer as a game or competition

character - n. a person in a play or movie

access - n. permission or the right to enter, get near, or make use of something or to have contact with someone

timeline - n. The place on Facebook where you can see your own posts, posts from friends and stories you're tagged in organized by the date they were posted

word cloud - n. an image of words used in a place, in which the size of each word shows how often that word is used

nightmare- n. a very bad or frightening experience or situation

profile - n. Your Facebook profile, is your collection of the photos, stories and experiences that tell your story

tag - n. a label attached to someone or something for the purpose of identification or to give other information

IP address - n. ta code made up of numbers separated by three dots that identifies a particular computer on the Internet

browser - n. a computer program that is used to find and look at information on the Internet

third party - n. someone who is not one of the two main people involved in a legal agreement but who is still affected by it in some way

respond - v. to do something as a reaction to something that has happened or been done​

update - v. to change (something) by including the most recent information​

app -. n. a computer program that performs a particular task

icon - n. a small picture on a computer screen that represents a program or function

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