Facebook might be selling and tracking your private data without your knowledge

Facebook might be selling and tracking your private data without your knowledge

Facebook might be selling and tracking your private data without your knowledge

Facebook has been a part of number of scandals involving user tracking and privacy breaches, however, this hasn’t stopped it from going against its very own terms. According to a series of documents, exposed by The New York Times, Facebook has been involved in an agreement with a number of corporations for sharing its user’s private data.

Over the years, there have been many instances of big companies getting a hold of data from Facebook. Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, got the friend lists, Netflix and Spotify got access to private messages and Amazon received names and contacts of the users. In return Facebook also used data from these multinational giants for their “People you may know” feature and other sponsored advertisements.

The company responded to the events, saying, “data-sharing was about helping people” in doing stuff on the internet, like, “seeing recommendations from their Facebook friends—on other popular apps and websites, like Netflix, The New York Times, Pandora, and Spotify.”

While the users got certain updates with new features – that they didn’t ask for, the partnerships certainly proved fruitful for Facebook. It enabled the company to grow and build upon its ‘data empire’, while the users got nothing significant in return.

Facebook also keeps track of your activity – including the websites you visit, the phone you use, the searches you make and even your phone’s battery. Along with selling your data, it also sells access to you – specifically to your News Feed and home wall. The company makes use of ‘’target advertising’, to show you ads based on your activity in hopes to improve its sales. As the sales increase, so does the revenue.

Ever wondered how when you search or talk about something, an ad for a similar product starts appearing on your Facebook homepage the next day? This is primarily what targeted advertising is. By analyzing your search history and following, Facebook’s intelligent algorithm sends you the ads that have a high probability of making a sale. Over the last couple of years, the average revenue generated by these sponsored ads has been over $40 billion. So, compromising and tracking your data earns Zuckerberg some great profits.

Recalling a scandal from a couple of years ago, Cambridge Analytica, a third-party data firm, got access to personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users – without their permission. This was a great setback for Facebook; however, it still didn’t stop it from continuing the same practices even today.

There’s a range of different categories of data shared with other applications. For instance, some track your contact information, while others might track your GPS location. Now, however, the user has control over granting this access. Taking example of Uber, when you sign up with Facebook, it broadcasts a clear message about the information the application would gain access to. Zuckerberg is also trying to improve data-sharing APIs to ensure there’s no outflow of data without the user’s consent.