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Users download 'Copy of Facebook Data' to test privacy settings

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

The #deletefacebook is spreading across the internet, and users are looking into how much of their information the social media giant stored and possibly transferred to other companies. 

"It was probably just a shock to a lot of people of just how much data they had and then how much data other apps had to that data," C3 Security and tech consultant Nam Nguyen said. 

U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies are investigating Facebook after it was revealed the company Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 50 million Americans' profiles for the 2016 Presidential Election. The information collected from Facebook was then used to predict and try to manipulate user's behavior. 

"If you can kind of predict the future, maybe you can do other things with that too. Maybe you can manipulate it by quelling the noise or adding fuel to the fire," Nguyen said. 

Monday, Nguyen doubled checked the privacy settings for user Carleena Varmall.  

She was surprised she unknowingly gave third-party apps permission to not only take her information but her friends' as well. 

"I got to see a lot that they were seeing that I didn't know. A lot sensitive stuff to me that they're looking at. You're not expecting that they're looking at but they are. They're saving it, and they're sharing it with other apps," Varmall said. 

As many rush to try and delete data already collected, they will learn it is much more than a click away. 

Some companies will delete data if requested, but others choose not to or just cannot because they may have shared it with another company. Those privacy policies are posted online. 

One company's privacy setting stated, "If you would like us to delete your record in our system, please contact us and we will attempt to accommodate your request if we are not legally obligated to retain the record."

Social media consultant Tiffany Starnes stressed even though it is convenient to login to another app using a Facebook profile login, it also means Facebook is getting permission to gather even more information on a user. 

"Facebook can now access the information that you are using on these different sites, whether that's if you're logging on to Hulu with your Facebook login then Facebook now understands what you're doing on Hulu. Now, Facebook can follow you around the internet and around the web based on these different sites," she said. 

Some users worried about Facebook storing text messages and phone calls after one person tweeted about information that Facebook collected on him. 

Facebook made a statement saying the company did have a feature for Android users to collect the content of calls or text messages, but users willingly agree to consent.

Facebook also stated that information was securely stored and not sold to third parties.

To see the information Facebook has on a user, the user must click on the "settings" tab on the top right of the home page then click on the 'Download a copy of your Facebook data'.

It will take a few minutes to download the file Facebook sends to the user. That file contains the information on what is being stored and possibly shared with other companies to target a user and predict their behavior. 

All of the settings can be changed to accommodate someone's level of privacy. 

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