Special report: Hidden secrets of online quizzes

Special report: Hidden secrets of online quizzes. (WPDE)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Let’s talk Facebook quizzes or any quizzes you take on social media, for that matter.

They’re just mindless fun, right? Wrong.

Admit it, you’ve taken one. You’re sitting in your bed and can’t sleep at night or waiting in line for lunch -- or at work!

What’s your spirit animal? Classic. Which "Grey’s Anatomy" character are you? My favorite. What kind of sister are you? The best kind, obviously.

Turns out, the answers aren’t the most surprising parts of these quizzes, it’s what the quizzes are getting from you.

With each seemingly harmless question and every one of your honest answers, the app you’re using to take the quiz is learning about you.

“Your profile, your friends list, your posts, that app is now going to have that information forever,” said Courtney Olbrich, of marketing firm The Brandon Agency.

We’re not answering for us. We’re answering for them. Who’s them? Well, that depends on who’s behind the quiz.

Olbrich explains about 80 percent of the quizzes on social media are for marketing companies that want to know more about your tastes, so they can fill your feed with ads you’ll more likely click.

“It’s not about your quiz and what you’re taking. They’re getting the profile information, stories you’ve read, things you’ve posted, articles you’ve shared, and they’re kind of making a profile of you to say these are her likes, dislikes and, you know, everything about her,” Olbrich said.

It's creepy but relatively harmless.

Then there are the phony profile-seekers. These are dangerous.

You’ve probably seen your own Facebook friends have alternate profiles that turn out to be fake.

“They’re looking at things that you’ve posted, pictures that you’ve taken, they’re trying to find any way into your profile to try to gain access and take control of your profile,” Olbrich said.

In the video below, you'll learn how to stop apps from accessing the information on your profile. Most people don't even realize they have dozens running.

The most damaging threat is the identity thief.

You know those quizzes your friends and family post on their statuses? They say “copy and paste then write in your answers!” Many are husband and wife quizzes or about movies or personal preferences.

In those quizzes, they’re looking for answers to your security questions and you’re posting them to your status to be shared across the internet. Think about it. How many of those questions are security questions for your banking or other accounts?

There are ways to tell if a quiz is safe or not. For that answer, cue Brent Reser, the CCU social media coordinator.

“I’m a social media professional and I still click on them, so they’re pretty convincing,” Reser admitted.

He said stick with quizzes that don’t ask to share your information.

Any links within the quiz are likely spam.

“The big, blue bar that says 'Login with Facebook,' that turned me off right away,” Reser said, looking at a quiz.

Whatever you do, do not click that button.

“By pressing that button, I’m giving them access to look at my Facebook profile,” Reser explained.

Don’t worry, if you still want to take a quiz, we have created one for you! It’s safe!

QUIZ: Which ABC15 evening team member are you?

We won’t take your information, we’re just sharing our own with you!

And, hey, let us know who you match by finding us on Facebook and Twitter!

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