By: Philip | 03-07-2018 | News
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Facebook Controversial Data Mining Extends Beyond Users

We've talked about the privacy threats that social media giants like Twitter pose, but even engineers at Twitter who warned of the "Big Brother" style atmosphere at the site were willing to admit that websites like Google and Facebook are far more frightening as far as the scale of privacy threat due to data mining and profiling of consumers. In the case of Twitter, Project Veritas revealed that even people who aren't signed up for an account on the platform are not safe from being added to a consumer profile database. The same goes for Facebook which keeps "secret files" on everyone who visits the site, whether they have a profile or Facebook page or not.

Facebook is keeping track of tons of information based on what is input into the search bar, what sites you jump to and from to access it, what groups and pages you visit, where you go (if you use the Facebook app with location turned on on your phone) and more. Currently, they have a database of at least 1.4 billion people, not counting the information gleaned from third-parties even if you've never visited Facebook.

As for users, some of the information gleaned is from metadata in photos which can provide information about the camera you were using and where and when you took the photo. In addition, there is the constantly evolving facial recognition tools they use, login data, networking information (who you friend, who you interface with)

Facebook offers privacy options as far as the information you share on your wall, but it's far less well known how they allow you to customize privacy settings for information shared with third-parties. Over 10,000 websites use Pixels to track visitors to the site and pick up what operating system and browser is being used as well as information about what sites are visited, how often they are visited and how much time is spent at them. You can also learn what Facebook has determined you're interested in by visiting your editable <a href="">Facebook Ad Preferences</a> page.

If you have a Facebook profile, you can actually download a report to see what kind of information has been stored. Using a tool made by <a href="">Supremo</a>, you can even see what kind of information here can be shared with (potentially unscrupulous) strangers.

Supremo warns:

<blockquote>Hi there! Did you know that every single time you visit a website, you reveal information about yourself simply by visiting? Similarly, websites that allow you to log in via Facebook could be collecting all kinds of information if you haven’t properly checked the permissions you’re granting.</blockquote>.

To be fair, Supremo's app will ask for information related to your Facebook, but according to the disclaimer “information we’ve gathered will be completely removed from our records but there are more malicious uses of your personal information potentially.” Unlike Twitter and Facebook which hold even deleted messages, pictures and posts in their databases indefinitely. You can, by the way, block cookies from certain websites in your browser settings (usually under privacy and/or security heading in preferences). You can also visit to learn more about what info tech giants are storing about you.

Javascript and flash are another vulnerability for the privacy-minded but there are browser add-ons like <a href="">NoScript</a> and <a href="">Ghostery</a> that can help there. Belgium recently ordered Facebook to stop collecting data on internet users without profiles or face a potential 250,000 euros per day fine. Australia is also ordering the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to look into what tech giants like Facebook are doing with the private information. According to the New Zealand Herald, this will be the broadest inquiry of its type globally.

Twitter: #Facebook #Privacy #DataMining

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2 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 20042 2018-03-07 : 15:08

The internet is so scary I think I am going to need a safe place to hide.

Anonymous No. 20062 2018-03-07 : 18:22

This isn't going to stop itself and is just getting worse. Not a fan of making laws, but if privacy laws aren't going to be enforced, maybe we need some legislation targeting these 1984 assholes.

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