Big Data Analytics – What is it, How To Protect Yourself

Big Data Privacy IssuesLet me state that I am not a techie! I am just an average person who happened to see a change in Facebook’s Newsfeed and Googled it. My search returned more information than I could digest in one sitting but over the last few weeks I’ve been reading and learning about Facebook algorithms. I also have been learning about how my data is being used by Facebook, Google, Apple and just about every other website I visit.

Facial Recognition Software

Did you see a message from Facebook recently that said Facial Recognition Software has been deployed and it’s set to OFF? Well, that’s a lie. Facebook has been using Facial Recognition Software for a long time. I’ve received Photo Tag Suggestions in Facebook for a long time. The only reason they are telling us about it now is because they were sued in other countries and European Union is cracking down on Facebook for violating the privacy of users. If you think leaving it turned off will prevent them from doing recognition on your account, you are wrong. They will find ways around it. For example, this past week women have been glamouring themselves with an app offered in Facebook Newsfeed that shows what they would like on a magazine cover. That app uses Facial Recognition Software and is helping Facebook train its algorithm. There is also another app in Facebook Newsfeed that determines Ancestry based upon your face. Here are two apps in Facebook scanning faces to train the algorithm and get your face in the database even if you haven’t turned on Facial Recognition.

My God people, wake up!!!

It really creeps me out, I deleted all of my Profile Photos. I only left my Bitmoji photo. Let’s see them recognize that? 😂 Also, I don’t take those stupid quizzes on Facebook. Those quizzes are created by companies trying to get your data to – guess what? Analyze it!


Sadly, SnapChat is also a Facial Recognition Software that so many people, kids mostly, use regularly. Once your face is in that database who knows who sees it. Let’s remember the FBI uses Facial Recognition Software too.

Parents, why are you posting so many photos of your children on Social Media? Their faces will be recognized for the rest of their lives. Their right to privacy from the world is your responsibility. Is your vanity or “proud momma” moment that you broadcast to the world on Social Media more important than your child’s right to privacy? Shouldn’t children have anonymity for as long as possible? Have we created a generation addictive to selfies, fish faces, likes and followers? Do you really think only your Friends see those photos? Nope, Facebook archives them! 😂😂 WAKE UP!

Facebook Data

One of the articles I stumbled upon was about the data that Facebook stores on internet users. I downloaded my Facebook Data and was stunned and sadly disappointed. I found private conversations I had with friends in the Messenger App going back to 2013. I don’t even have them on my account anymore. I deleted them years ago but Facebook still has them in their archive and data collection. That totally creeped me out and was pretty much my last straw. I can’t delete my account. I need it for school. Unfortunately, my family is active on FB and it is also the easiest way to keep up with them. However, I will not be giving Facebook data by interacting nor will I be putting my privacy at their discretion. Below is a link to the article.

What is Big Data Analytics?

When you use Facebook, Google, Mobile Devices, Search Engines, Apps, etc. you create data with each search, like, photo you post and comment you make. That data is worth a lot of money to advertisers, the government, Big Pharma and manufactures. Here are examples of how you create big data:

  • I post a photo on Facebook. I tag a friend. I put a location on the photo. My friends comment. In this example, Facebook engages Facial Recogition. It gets data on my friends and myself. It knows where I’ve been so it can target my location in ads and control content in my Newsfeed with its algoritim to be geared towards my location.
  • I “like” on Facebook several business pages. By liking those pages, I give Facebook data and they can sell that information or use to again target ads towards my interests.

Not all Big Data is bad. Apple is using some of the data from Apple Health App to help healthcare. Big Pharma is also using it to make drugs. Manufacturing companies are using it to make better processes. Trust me, Big Data Engineer is the career of the future for young people. It’s in high demand and pays a lot of money! Even the government hires them!

Cross Tracking Websites

I see Cross Tracking as the biggest risk to our every day privacy.

Scenario: I check my Facebook Newsfeed, close Facebook and go to Google or Amazon. I search for a new pair of Yoga Pants. The next time I log into Facebook Desktop, I see ads for the same Yoga Pants I just googled and bought on Amazon. How did that happen? Cross Tracking Websites! If you are logged into Facebook on a device, it follows you to your next site using Cookies. Yep, it’s happening! Facebook isn’t the only site using it either! How to protect yourself? Wake Up!

  • Stop using the Facebook App. Log into Facebook through the Browser on your phone. I’ve been doing this for years.
  • Log out of Facebook after each use or log out before using a Search Engine. It’s a drag to enter the password each time but it’s safer.
  • If you are using Apple devices, IOS let’s you have some control. Turn off the tracking features in Safari on all devices. (See the below screenshots) – Note About Safari: if you Block All Cookies, you will not be able to log into Facebook on Safari. I tried it😊
  • If you are using Chrome, use the Incognito Tab and Change your Settings. (See the below Screenshots)

IOS Cross Site Setting

Chrome Incognito Tab

I am sure there are other tricks I haven’t discovered yet too. If anyone has any other suggestions on how to tighten up personal privacy with Social Media, please share them with me.

I am also being mindful of privacy at work too. Since my employer has a Data Retention Policy, any correspondence on a “company” device is considered their data. Therefore, I am now being careful what and how much I write to folks on “company” phones, Instant Messenger and email too. It protects everyone. Probably best to use personal phones for informal convos with my coworkers who are friends/buddies.

This post is not aimed to be anti-Facebook or anti-Big Data. Big Data can have some positive impacts on the world if the technology is used ethically. However, I am not comfortable trusting Facebook, Google or anyone else, for that matter, to be ethical with my data. If you use technology, companies collecting your data is fact of life. We can’t completely stop it. We, as users, can be smarter and safer with our privacy. The essential thing you need to do to protect your privacy is too WAKE UP and stop technology from manipulating your privacy.

Maintaining privacy is a part of my holistic wellness coaching. If you would like more information on Holistic Wellness strategies, please email: or visit the Coaching Services Page of this website to book a 30 minutes phone call.

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC