How public is the information you post on Facebook?
A new Facebook app called "Digital Shadow," which video game development company Ubisoft launched to promote the game "Watch Dogs," answers this question, according to Dave Thier at Forbes.
The app website reminds viewers they leave a digital imprint whenever they use the Internet. "You are not an individual. You are a data cluster," reads the website. "You go about your life unaware of the Digital Shadow you cast." Once a user connects "Digital Shadow" to his or her Facebook account, the website shows a plethora of information, including whom users interact with frequently, the tone of people's posts and when users are most active.
With this app, Ubisoft is showing the dystopian future world of "Watch Dogs" - where hackers can find everything they desire to know about an individual using a Google-like search system - is plausible, per Thier.
However, "Digital Shadow" has more limitations than the search system in "Watch Dogs." Rob Walker at Yahoo Tech used the website to confirm his privacy settings were working and was happy with the results.
Like Walker, most Internet users take their privacy seriously, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center report. In fact, 86 percent of Internet users have tried to obscure their Internet tracks using a variety of methods - including clearing their browser history and deleting or editing past posts.
Yet users' reactions to "Digital Shadow" demonstrate that even privacy-concerned Internet users are surprised by the amount of information they are sharing. Anne Lewis at Ubiblog does not post on Facebook as often as most users, but she noted the app was "still able to uncover an alarming amount of personal details because of (her) friends and family."
Taylor Casti at The Huffington Post believes people can learn a valuable lesson about social media after using "Digital Shadow."
"It may very well encourage users to take their online privacy settings a little more seriously," said Casti.