What is quizbait?

Some time ago, I coined the term “quizbait” as a portmanteau of quiz and bait, along the links of clickbait and linkbait, the kind of trivial end point you reach when you get suckered into following a URL to something trivial, untrustworthy or fake. It’s everywhere and as my incredibly social media savvy friend Jo Brodie points out it is a risk to privacy.

She tells me that every time she sees that a friend has taken one of these tests or quizzes on Facebook and shared their results, she blocks the app the friend used. This is good practice, “because, when you authorise the app to interact with your page, it is then able to interact with mine because you can see my page and the app can access what you can access,” she explains. She adds that it is a safe assumption to make from the common app terms and conditions and the way in which Facebook seems to work that the apps can even access your non-public information via the friend allowing the app into their account.

Worst are those “easy” quizzes that suck in a lot of users because they presumably want to check that they’re really clever…of course, the quiz, like any marketing/ad campaign or other intrusion doesn’t care that you take the quiz nor how clever you reveal yourself to be. It simply wants access to that prized commodity of the digital age – data. Data = Money. Giving access to all your data for free is a bad thing because you might not even realise just how much personal, private and sensitive information you have locked up in your Facebook and other social media accounts…but, of course, the algorithms can access that and work it out, pulling out all kinds of interesting titbits about you and your pecadillos, health concerns, relationships and finances.

Quizbait is insidious. Don’t fall for it. And, make sure you block the apps that friends share when they take the bait. Here’s the link – https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=blocking

It occurred to me as I was writing this that once the app has access it will have harvested all the data within seconds or minutes. Blocking will protect only new data from that particular app.

Meanwhile, I defined quizbait for the Urban Dictionary.