Following a string of major privacy scandals, a movement began to spread online encouraging users to “#DeleteFacebook.” However, a recent study found that quitting the platform may not have much of an effect when it comes to protecting your privacy. Researchers discovered that, even if you leave Facebook or never joined in the first place, the company can still analyze your friends’ posts to predict your future behavior with 95 percent accuracy.
“Information is so strongly embedded in a social network that, in principle, one can profile an individual from their available social ties even when the individual forgoes the platform completely,” the researchers wrote.
The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, illustrates just how interconnected we all are on social media, even if we don’t know it. Simply by joining platforms like Facebook, we’re not only giving up our own data, but our friends’ data, too.
“Privacy on social media is like second-hand smoke. It’s controlled by the people around you,” the study concluded.
Since almost everyone is already on Facebook, or knows someone who is, it’s far too late to prevent the company from gathering this data. However, you can take steps to strengthen your privacy settings and minimize what the company knows.