Facebook may appear to be a safe space online when compared to the dark corners of the web, but did you know Mark Zuckerburg and company are keeping tabs on you even if you’re not a Facebook user?
You read that correctly. Even if you’ve never registered for or logged in to the popular social networking website, the California-based giant are tracking your digital footprint.
Zuckerburg’s social media empire reportedly use the information they have collected to target specific advertisements to their users based on their content preferences, an algorithm that surely tracks other websites you view online, as well as for a variety of security reasons. Whether you choose to believe the company’s intentions are pure is up to you.
Unfortunately for you, the consumer, there is no way of tracking exactly what kind of tabs Facebook are keeping on you. You’re left sitting and wondering how private your online endeavours really are. Each and every time you visit a website in any way associated with Facebook, by means of ads or trackers, you are being spied on right under your nose. There are more than 10,000 different websites that house these invasive trackers, but exactly which websites they are is anyone’s guess.
What information is Facebook collecting exactly?
Your IP address, for starters, as well as your browsing habits on these connected websites and what operating system you’re using to conduct said activities. This allows the tech giant to keep tabs on how long you spend on the websites you choose to visit, which provider you’re paying for your internet access, and where in the world you’re stationed at any given point in time. It’s worrisome, to say the least.
Nick Whigham, a reporter that is employed by the New Zealand Herald, opted to dig a little deeper and find out exactly what kind of information and data Facebook had collected on him. Among his findings were a mobile recording of an old family video, a memory Whigham more than likely kept close to his heart, as well as scans he had made of tenancy agreements and various other bills he had paid. Needless to say, Mr. Whigham was surprised by the results.
If the company had found all this pertaining to Mr. Whigham, what exactly do they have on the rest of us? What kind of information are Facebook keeping in their back pocket for when the need to use it may arise?
Back in the year 2010, Facebook became the first of the social media giants that allowed users to download a transcript of their unique history on the service.
How to access your data
To access these files, simply click on the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of Facebook’s interface, select the settings option, and then tap the option that reads ‘Download a copy of your data file.’ This will give you an exclusive peek into exactly what Facebook know about you, as well as offer insight into what type of data they may opt to collect in the future. It’s a welcome look behind the curtain.
Even if you’re not a paranoid or concerned person by nature, it’s worth at least investigating and doing your due diligence to make sure Facebook doesn’t have anything on you that could come back to haunt you.