Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 31: Delete Your Social Media History

We discuss the new EFAIL issue affecting encrypted email; discuss a new class-action suit against Apple; and then explain how you can delete your history on Facebook and Twitter. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

How to Easily Remove Old Tweets and Facebook Posts

Your social media accounts are a reflection of your lifeā€”at least the part of your digital life that you share with your friends, family members, and perhaps strangers. People post all sorts of things on social media: photos of selfies and vacation pics, links to articles you find interesting, comments about your favorite sports teams, random thoughts about movies, music, politics, and more.

While fun to banter on social media, if you were to take a look back at comments you’ve posted on Facebook and Twitter over the years, you may cringe. There may come a time in your life when you want to clean up what you’ve shared on social media; not that what you’ve posted is necessarily wrong, but this unfiltered content, often composed in the spur of the moment, may not be flattering when taken out of context years later.

In this article, I’ll show you how to use free tools to easily delete old tweets and clean out your Facebook content.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to Prevent Facebook Apps from Accessing Your Profile Information

If you’ve been following the news recently, you may have been surprised to discover that a data analysis company managed to scrape up information on some 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. While this is not the first time Facebook has offered entities access to its data, the controversy in recent news deals with exactly how a consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, obtained the data from Facebook.

A CNBC report says that Cambridge Analytica legally purchased the data from Aleksandr Kogan and his company, Global Science Research, which gathered the data through a Facebook app and a psychological test taken by Facebook users.

Curiously, however, they didn’t need to get 50 million people to click on a link in order to obtain their data; instead, they accomplished this by persuading just 270,000 users to add an app, called thisisyourdigitallife, to their Facebook page. The app offered a number of personality quizzes; you know the kind, you see them on Facebook all the time.

Those who downloaded the app voluntarily handed over vast amounts of personal data about what they like, where they live, and in some cases, depending on an individuals Facebook privacy settings, who their friends were. The data analysis firm used this data to create “psychographic profiles,” or descriptions of people according to their personality types. They had enough data to create full profiles of 30 million people.

And you might be one of them.

How did they get the data without the knowledge of users? Quite simply, a default Facebook setting allowed the entity to access to this information. For this reason, every Facebook user needs to know how to change these settings to prevent Facebook apps from accessing your profile information.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.

Facebook Must Die, and It Will, but in the Meantime…

You can’t swing a virtual cat without coming across an article about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. The cynicism of these people is quite stunning. Facebook is pretending that they didn’t do anything wrong (“What, us?”), and Cambridge Analytica – whose CEO was just suspended by the company’s board – is saying the same sort of things.

Don’t forget that CA is partly owned by Robert Mercer, a leading conservative donor, and that Steve Bannon was vice-president of the company.

But back to Facebook; it will die, eventually. Or it will morph into something different. It’s not new; their abuse of user data has been apparent for several years. Governments are going to take the company apart, and rightly so. It may survive, with a different business model, or it may be replaced by something else.

I’ve been using Facebook since 2007, and use it in a limited manner. I keep in touch with old friends, and some colleagues, but I long ago got tired of all the quizzes and fake news that people were sharing, and unfollowed a lot of people. What I do use it for, however, is groups. These have replaced forums for many people, and are very accessible: people don’t need to understand how forum software works, and they don’t need to create new accounts. I belong to groups about cats, photography, music, local groups, and more.

Many people use Facebook groups now, because they are so easy to set up. For example, I’m taking an online photography course, and the instructor created a Facebook group for people to post photos and discuss the course. This is very practical, and these groups generally aren’t polluted with the dregs of Facebook.

If Facebook goes away or changes, this is one aspect of the service that I would miss. These groups suffer from all the usual Facebook problems of an algorithm deciding what to post on your timeline, but you can view all posts in a group (though navigation isn’t practical). But they’re like the best of Usenet; they allow communication without too many problems of spam, since they’re easily moderated.

In any case, I hope Facebook gets destroyed. What they’ve done – even more so than Twitter – is to monetize people’s data and share it in ways they should not have done. The fact that if one of your friends plays a game or quiz and your data can be shared should be – and may well become – illegal. Facebook has gotten too big, and needs to die. I’ll stay there for a while, mainly for groups, but I agree that it’s just not fun any more.