If you have more than two or three Facebook friends, odds are good that at some point, you’ve gotten someone’s quiz results on your wall. One of your friends took a quiz and found out which Lord of the Rings character they were most like, or what words they tend to use most often in conversation, or any number of other things.
Sometimes the quizzes are actually marginally entertaining, but how much are you willing to pay for that few minutes of entertainment?
Before you can take the quiz in question, the app that drives it will ask if it can connect to your Facebook account. Occasionally you’ll be able to pick and choose what specific data the app can have access to, but most of the time, you won’t have that option, and the app will quietly gather your birthday, home town, likes, photos, complete friends list, and more.
If you think that sounds pretty intrusive for a simple quiz, and you’re suddenly wondering what the owners of the app might do with all that information, you’re not alone, and are right to be concerned. While most of these companies “promise” they won’t sell your data, they also have built into their terms of service that they have the right to keep it forever, even if you deactivate your Facebook account. It’s not an unfair question to ask what they plan to do with all that data on you, if not eventually sell it to someone else. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be much point in collecting it to begin with, right?
All that to say, be very careful about taking Facebook quizzes. Yes, they’re sometimes cute and humorous, but how much information are you willing to give up to find out what color you’re most closely associated with, or whether you’re more like Gandalf or Frodo? Information is currency. Guard yours carefully.