Chapter 3

Who Owns Your Privacy?

The Commercialization of Personal Data

What Kind of Vegetable Are You?

It didn’t raise eyebrows when Aleksandr Kogan offered “This is Your Digital Life” as a Facebook quiz app. Quiz apps are a staple of Facebook marketing, enticing users to participate and then harvesting marketing data. These apps—which are enticing, seductive, and highly effective—have spawned an entire subindustry of quiz-marketing tools and specialists.

About 270,000 Facebook users installed Kogan’s app and took its personality test, in the process giving the app access to their contacts to invite them to follow suit. Kogan’s ostensible motivation was academic research—studying how emojis are used to convey emotion. But what he did with ...

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