Be careful with quizzes on Facebook

What TV show character are you? The one who shares your personal information for free, the one who is exposed to fraud, or the one who opens the door to identity theft? If you take a quiz game on Facebook, it might be a bit of all three.

Facebook quizzes are popular. Whether it’s figuring out which Friends character you should date, if you’re familiar with Disney movies, or which Hogwarts house in Harry Potter you belong to, the topics seem endless. Be careful though: if these quizzes can sometimes be light and fun, the intentions behind are sadly not always noble.

“The person who creates a trivia game always has something to gain,” explains Emeline Manson, expert cybersecurity and fraud prevention trainer. For her, the main problem with online questionnaires has to do with gathering information. The answers to the questions can tell a lot about you. The psychological profile to discover which character in a series is most like you can also be used to send you targeted advertisements, for example. “These ads are not necessarily fraudulent, but they can be persistent and intrusive,” says Emeline Manson.

Other times the intentions are downright dishonest. “The information obtained can be used in particular for scams, fraud and identity theft,” adds the trainer. The more a malicious individual knows about their prey, the more effective their attack can be when it comes to sending you a targeted phishing attempt or trying to build a relationship to extract money from you.

“Some questionnaires can also ask more precise questions, like the name of your first pet or the make of your first car. These are questions that can also be the secret questions to recover your passwords, ”he continues.

With enough answers to your questions, the author of a questionnaire could recover some of your accounts online, including your banking access.

An exaggerated concern, or not?

Even if there is a theoretical risk, should we really fear a trivial questionnaire that has been shared and completed thousands of times? After all, not everyone who answered a questionnaire like this has subsequently been disappointed. “Each person has their own level of tolerance for risk, but you have to be careful,” says Emeline Manson, who for her part avoids responding to these online games.

Furthermore, the apparent innocuousness of the questions can be misleading. “You don’t give much information, but if you give one or two in a first questionnaire, then one or two in a second, you provide the different pieces of a puzzle. It is when all these pieces are combined that it becomes problematic ”, explains the trainer.

What can you do to answer the tests safely?

If the desire to answer questionnaires is too great, some security measures are necessary.

“The most important thing is never to give out personal information,” advises Emeline Manson. Whether it is your birthday (which can be requested to identify your astrological sign, for example), your email (required to receive responses to the questionnaire) or your name (apparently requested to personalize the questionnaire), this data should not be shared. In the worst case, feel free to lie and offer false answers.

Please note that this information is not always explicitly requested. Often times, the authors of the questionnaires can obtain them in other ways, for example, by inviting you to register with Facebook when you visit their website. Then, make sure that the procedure is not accompanied by the automatic exchange of your data, such as your name and email address.

When a site requests access to your information in the Facebook registration window (see photo), click Edit Access and deselect the personal information. If they are necessary, exit the site.


Obviously, some quiz creators inspire more confidence than others. A questionnaire on a bank’s site to find out our risk tolerance or on a major media site to remember the year that just ended, for example, will not attempt to extract your personal information for dishonest purposes. If the urge to take a quiz game is too strong, look for one that comes from an official and reliable source.

>> Read also: Large file: how to protect your personal data


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