As #DeleteFacebook continues to trend, are YOU going to deactivate your account?

Facebook says data collected via a quiz app was passed to Cambridge Analytica in violation of its terms. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Facebook says data collected via a quiz app was passed to Cambridge Analytica in violation of its terms. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

As British firm Cambridge Analytica is accused of misusing data taken from Facebook users, people are questioning how and whether they will continue to use the social media site.

The world’s most popular social media network has faced international backlash over its handling of personal data, which resulted in the details of around 30 million Americans being illegally used.

According to a joint investigation by The New York Times and The Observer, the firm (which is employed by US President Donald Trump) was able to create psychological profiles to target adverts during the 2016 US election.

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The offices of Cambridge Analytica (CA) in central London. Elizabeth Denham is pursuing a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s computer server. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA via AP)
The offices of Cambridge Analytica (CA) in central London. Elizabeth Denham is pursuing a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s computer server. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA via AP)

Facebook says data collected via a quiz app called ThisIsYourDigitalLife, billed as a personality predictor, was passed to Cambridge Analytica in violation of its terms.

Apps which work on Facebook, like mini games and personality quizzes, request a user’s permission to take this information – the data. There are rules about what third parties can do with it.

Searches have spiked over the last 48 hours. (Google Trends)
Searches have spiked over the last 48 hours. (Google Trends)

Cambridge has denied wrongdoing, and Trump’s campaign has said it didn’t use Cambridge’s data.

However, Facebook has drawn continued criticism for its alleged inaction to protect users’ privacy, and now many are calling for a widespread-deletion.

Searches for ‘How to Delete Facebook’ have spiked on Google as the scandal unfolds, assisted by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who appeared to add his voice to critics of Facebook following the row, tweeting ‘It is time’ with the #deletefacebook hashtag.

Many users added their own thoughts to the hashtag, which quickly started trending.

Facebook shares have already closed down nearly 7%, wiping nearly $40 billion (£28.58 billion) off its market value after investors started selling their shares at a record speed.

Along with WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, Mr Acton sold the app to Facebook for 19 billion dollars (£11.4 billion) in 2014.

The social media platform collects data from almost every element on the site – including uploaded and tagged photos, how much time and when you access the site, chat history, IP addresses, facial recognition data, and which ads you clicked.

Facebook also knows where you log on to its site from and the device you use to do so.

Third-party apps that work on the site, like mini games and personality quizzes, request a user’s permission to take this information – a person’s data. There are rules about what third parties can do with it.

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Facebook says data collected via a quiz app called ThisIsYourDigitalLife, billed as a personality predictor, was passed to Cambridge Analytica in violation of its terms.

Thankfully, there are a few easy steps you can take to control how your data is used on Facebook – both in terms of what is visible to other users, and how your data might be used by companies.

From setting your Facebook posts to ‘private’, to limiting the audience of your old Facebook posts and policing your likes, it’s easy to crack down on your personal data.

You can find details of which apps you’ve given data to by visiting www.facebook.com/settings or, on the desktop site, settings is located on the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the blue header bar.

Users can see what info is shared with any app, and there are options to delete, limit the information each app can access and remove info collected by the app.

Although deleting an app may still allow the developer to retain some of a user’s personal information.

To permanently delete your Facebook account, visit www.facebook.com/help/delete_account to start the process. It may take up to 90 days to delete all the things you’ve posted, says Facebook.

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