Nairobi News


Why you should never answer those Facebook quizzes

If you are the type that always participates in those enticing Facebook quizzes on say How you will look in x number of years or What your role will be in Canaan, then you may want to reconsider this seemingly harmless pastime.

Since the Cambridge Analytica story broke, detailing how propaganda was shared through Facebook during the 2017 General Election in Kenya, the question of users’ data privacy has become paramount.

Some companies have been using the quiz applications to harvest data as Facebook clearly gives warnings on giving information to third parties in their policy.

However, Kenyans have overtime become great fans of such quizzes to the extent that a local developer came with the one on Who you will be in Canaan.

Many filled up the quiz and shared results of how they would be Joshua and other Biblical characters in Canaan.

The ‘Canaan’ in question was popularized by opposition outfit Nasa as a campaign mantra which promised Kenyans a land full of ‘honey and milk’ and free of corruption if they were to be elected to government.

In order to obtain results in the Facebook quizzes, users are asked to give permission for the app to access personal data.

It is only after you okay that when you are able to proceed with the quiz and obtain results.

Ruth, a Facebook user who keeps sharing the results of her quizzes – her latest being in January when she filled one on Where she would travel in 2018 – says she does it for fun.

“I have never had an issue with my account being hacked or getting any unsolicited links sent to me as a result of giving the apps permission. I always click on them for fun and I’ve never given a thought to the data they access when I grant them permission,” she told Nairobi News.


Another user, Ken, wondered, “Whats the point of not granting permission and have some fun? After all, we are on Facebook to have fun and the data is already online.”

According to Stephen Musyoka, a social media consultant Aga Khan University, there is great need to protect personal information online.

“Every time you answer a quiz online you give access to your data. There is need for people to be careful before granting permission for access to their personal data by third parties,” Musyoka stated during a recent training at the institution.

BBC also spoke to the chief executive of a South Korean company Vonvon that was running an online quiz enquiring about the privacy of users’ data.

Jonghwa Kim told BBC that his company only uses the data to generate the results and has changed their app to request only public information, friends’ lists and timeline data.

“We do realise that some of our users are worried about their privacy protection. To accommodate these concerns proactively, we adjusted our scope of data request to the minimum requirement to produce each separate content,” he said.

Facebook on its Privacy Update page states:

“When you use third-party apps, websites or other services that use, or are integrated with, our Services, they may receive information about what you post or share. For example, when you play a game with your Facebook friends or use the Facebook Comment or Share button on a website, the game developer or website may get information about your activities in the game or receive a comment or link that you share from their website on Facebook. In addition, when you download or use such third-party services, they can access your Public Profile, which includes your username or user ID, your age range and country/language, your list of friends, as well as any information that you share with them. Information collected by these apps, websites or integrated services is subject to their own terms and policies.”

The last sentence (emboldened) is the more reason as to why you need to resist the urge to participate in the said quizzes on Facebook.