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Unroll.me Has Been Selling Your Email Data—Here’s How to Make it Stop

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There’s a familiar saying in the tech world: If you’re not paying, you’re the product. Which means, if you’re not paying to use a service, the company providing it has to be profiting in a different way, and that’s usually by selling the data it collects on its users to third parties. This is perfectly legal—you give the company permission to do so by signing off on its terms of service. As The Intercept highlighted earlier this week, the latest tech company to catch flak for giving away data on its often unwitting customers is Unroll.me, a service that helps you organize and unsubscribe from email newsletters. If you're a user, it's probably time you revoked its access to your information. But doing so, unfortunately, is a little more complicated than just deleting your account on the site.

The initial revelation came out as part of a New York Times profile on Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, which revealed that Uber bought information on Unroll.me users from a data analytics service called Slice—data that Unroll.me users probably didn't know the company was collecting in the first place, like their emailed purchase receipts. “Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers’ emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber," the Times reported.

Presumably, when you signed up for Unroll.me, you thought you were giving the company access to your email so that it could help you sift through annoying spam newsletters—not so that it could sell other companies information about the stuff you buy.

Despite issuing an apology, the company isn’t going to stop how it does business. “We never, ever release personal data about you,” Unroll.me says, but it’s still going to collect information from your email. “All data is completely anonymous and related to purchases only.” But most people would rather not have a company trading data on what they buy.

So yes, it’s probably time you deleted the service. To do so, you’ll need to go into your email settings. Here’s how to do it in Gmail:

1. Go to “My Account.”

2. Under “Sign-in and Security,” click “Connected apps and sites.”

3. Go to “Apps connected to your account” and click on Unroll.me. Hit “remove.”

4. Start looking through those privacy statements and terms of service pages, even if they're full of legalese. For an easy way to see what a company wants to do with your data, search the page for the term "third party."

[h/t The Intercept]

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Facebook Just Made It Easier to Tell the Difference Between Fake News and Real Reporting
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On Facebook, fake news stories "reporting" international conflicts over Toblerones can appear alongside fact-checked journalism from trustworthy outlets. This leads to some bogus stories racking up thousands of shares while real news stories are deemed "fake" by those who disagree with them. With its latest news feature, Facebook aims to make the distinction between factual and fictional posts clearer.

As The Verge reports, articles shared on Facebook will now display a "trust indicator" icon. Clicking on it reveals information about the publisher of the piece, including their ethics statement, corrections policy, fact-checking process, ownership structures, and masthead. By providing that context, Facebook hopes that more users will make better decisions about which news outlets to trust and which to disregard.

The social media network is launching the feature with a handful of publishers and plans to open it up to more down the road. But unless it becomes mandatory for all media pages, it won't be the end of Facebook's fake news problem: Phony sites and real publishers that leave this information blank will still look the same in the eyes of some readers. Additionally, the feature only works when people go out of their way to check it, so it requires users to be skeptical in the first place.

If you want to avoid the fake news in your feed, looking for trust indicators is a good place to start. To further sharpen your BS-detecting skills, try adopting the CRAAP system: The American Library Association has been using it to spot sketchy sources since before the Facebook era.

[h/t The Verge]

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How to Stop Instagram Photos From Automatically Posting to Facebook
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If you have Instagram photos you don’t mind sharing with your aunts, exes, and former high school classmates, Facebook is the perfect place to post them. But some pictures are better suited to more intimate audiences: For those scenarios, you’ll want to unlink your Facebook from your Instagram account. The Daily Dot put together a simple how-to guide.

To keep your Instagram photos from automatically showing up on your Facebook profile, head to the Instagram app. Go to your profile, tap the gear icon next to Edit Profile, and then scroll down to the Linked Accounts option under Settings. If every photo you share through Instagram is published on Facebook, you should see Facebook highlighted in blue with a checkmark next to it under Linked Accounts. After tapping this, hit the Unlink Facebook button and Unlink a second time when the app asks you to confirm your decision.

Once that’s taken care of, any new posts you share through Instagram will only be seen by your Instagram followers (unless your account is linked to Twitter or some other social media site, in which case you can follow the same steps above). To undo this action, just return to Linked Accounts and tap Facebook to join the two accounts again.

This is a smart way to limit your social media presence or curb potential damage if hackers ever access your Instagram. But if you’re looking to distance yourself from Facebook because of issues you have with the site itself, simply unlinking it from Instagram won’t cut it. Facebook owns Instagram, so any information you post to either profile goes to the same place. There are better ways to control how Facebook handles your personal data. Read this to learn more about the social media giant’s ad targeting practices and what you can do about them.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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