Do you ever realize what data does Facebook’s systems collect about you even when you’re offline and what is it used for? Have you ever searched for something, only to see that same item pop up in a sponsored post in your Facebook stream the next time you sign in? Or read an article about a certain topic, then had its ads appear in your Facebook newsfeed?
Facebook ad targeting options sheds a lot of light on just how much personal information they’re collecting about you, everything from your current location to relationship status, life events, political inclinations, your interests, digital activities, and personal contacts.
As per Facebook’s insights-to-go, 30% of people in Germany who are avid radio listeners feel very satisfied with the music they discover through these services.
What data does Facebook collect?
Facebook knows about almost everything:
- Your birthday.
- The car you drive.
- Your Instagram and WhatsApp activity.
- The next travel destination you are planning to visit.
- Your workplace.
- The websites you visit.
- The apps that you use to order food.
- The ads that you clicked to find your favorite shoes or iPhone cases.
- If you use Uber or Ola to commute in your everyday life or not.
- The events that you last attended.
Some of this information is provided to Facebook by you, while other information is gathered by Facebook based on your interactions. Every single day, more than a billion active users share their thoughts, photos, news, videos, memes, and more with connections on Facebook. We share our sign-in and posting locations, where we took a certain photo; much of it indirectly, without a second thought.
77% of 18-34-year-olds in India identify as “foodies”, says Facebook insights-to-go.
How is the data collected?
Facebook uses a number of software tools to do this tracking. When users check other sites, Facebook can still monitor what they are doing with plugins like its ubiquitous “Like” and “Share” buttons. Given enough information, your Facebook activity data, alone could indicate your psychological state more accurately than your friends, your family or better even than your partner. Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant. These services may include:
- Social plugins, which make third party apps or sites let you share content on Facebook or vice versa
- Facebook Login, which lets you use your Facebook account to log into another website or app
- Facebook ads and measurement tools, which enable websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers, to run their own ads on Facebook, and to understand the efficacy of their ads
- Facebook Analytics, which helps websites and apps better understand how people use their services
What does Facebook do with your data?
When you visit a website, your browser (for example Chrome, Safari or Firefox) sends a request to the site’s server. The browser shares your IP address so the website knows where on the internet to send the site content. The website also gets information about the browser and operating system (for example Android or Windows) you’re using because not all browsers and devices support the same features. It also gets cookies, which are identifiers that websites use to know if you’ve visited before.
The information you provide to Facebook is what keeps the company running. They use this data to create detailed profiles of your interests and to place you into certain groups. As far as we know, all Facebook does right now is store this data on their servers and use it to improve the content and ads. As much as consumers claim to have concerns around Facebook privacy issues, we sure don’t mind handing our information over to it left and right.
As per Facebook’s new data access tools, there have been growing efforts by many policymakers and regulators to enhance people’s rights around access to their data. These laws include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Read more what General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is.
Reach out to learn about our Data Analytics services at DAAS Labs here.