"If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged."- Cardinal Richelieu in 1641
Continuing in the "What does ____ know about you?" series, today: What does Facebook know about you? Probably, almost everything about you.
Facebook is the most widely used social network in the world today. With billions of monthly active users, this affords them the opportunity to collect massive amounts of data, on you. Every time you like a post, are tagged in a photo, post a comment, change relationship status, change interests, etc. Facebook logs that activity into their database. Not only does Facebook track and log everything you do on their own site, they track everything you do on the web when you are outside their site if the page you are on has the option to share to Facebook. Not throughly creeped out yet? How about Facebook going to third party data brokers and buying information about your mortgage, car loans and shopping preferences, etc.?
The reason Facebook collects all this data is to give marketers the opportunity to tailor their ads to specific groups of people. So, you with your mortgage, two car loans, one acre of property and love of dogs and Star Wars is put into a specific group with all of those people like you. Marketers will then target you in this group with ads that are relevant to you and your specified interests.
But wait...Facebook is making billions (yes, billions) of dollars off of these information every quarter...so, shouldn't you be entitled to a share of this revenue? Or at least the option to opt out of this program? After all, this is your own personal private data.
Not to mention that a breach to Facebook's serves could be disastrous. Think about all that information that was just listed being available to hackers. They would know exactly where you live, the home you own, your interests, how many credit cards you own, bank accounts, etc. If Facebook was hacked it would be catastrophic for people.
Facebook's data policy is to only share what you give them permission to share. Now might be the time to go back through your profile and see all the things you blindly agreed to.
To get a comprehensive list about what Facebook knows about you and the groups you have been put into, click here to visit ProPublica's website and follow the instructions to download and use their Chrome Facebook plug-in. It will reveal all of the categories that you have been grouped into by Facebook. This is the information they sell to marketers so they can tailor specific ads. This experiment will not show you all of these groups but also give you the option to opt out of all of these groups, so be sure to download the tool and use it.
I used the tool and found out the following:
I was grouped into over 300 interest groups, a majority of which I never specified on my actual profile.....
This was the most interesting part...The following websites had my contact information...
Looks like I have some opting out to do also...
Continue the conversation in the comments below! What were you grouped into and what websites have your contact information?
Thank you for joining us today! Please be sure to come back Wednesday at 6:00pm EST for another practical strategy to take back your privacy.
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