What does Facebook do with your data?

Ki James
Ki James
September 7th, 2021

It’s widely known that Facebook collects information about its users. Most people seem to be at least tangentially aware that this either is actively happening, or has happened in the past. For many, the details end there. We want to take a look at not only what Facebook does with all this data, but what data they collect in the first place.

What information are they actually collecting?

Facebook gathers lots of information from a variety of sources. Here’s a small list, and some explanation for the more vague ones.

  • Cookies
  • Facial Recognition
  • Behavioral Data
  • Personal Data

“Behavioral Data” has to do with what you like, how long you engage with content, what’s more likely to cause you to leave a comment, etc.. They collect this information based on how you act on the site.

“Personal Data” has to do with information about you. This includes your location, age, name, etc.. In most cases, this is information that you freely give Facebook as opposed to it being collected subliminally.

How are they using this information?

This level of data harvesting may sound scary, but it doesn’t answer what the salient threat actually is. One issue on this front is that we don’t actually know with perfect certainty what Facebook does, and we can only get hints based on what they tell us, and what they’ve been caught doing in the past. Here’s a list of three items, accompanied by some analysis.

Turned over to the government

This likely only applies in certain circumstances, namely, to those engaged in criminal activity; however, this doesn’t excuse this behavior. Facebook has no right to abuse its power over the people who depend on it for communication, and your privacy should absolutely matter under all circumstances.

Sold to the highest bidder

Facebook has been caught in scandals in the past for monetarily collaborating with third parties to disclose your personal information. Most famously, they were impugned for their involvement with Cambridge Analytica, a shady political firm.

Experimented on internally

Finally, your information is collected and researched internally. Whenever you see a news story with a headline like, “Study finds Facebook users xyz,” this information is gathered subliminally by Facebook. In some cases, this information is given to researchers, but this is primarily internal research.

What can you do to stop Facebook from abusing your information?

We plan on writing about all the different steps you can take to minimize Facebook’s grasp over your data; however, the biggest first step you need to take is to remove harmful information you’ve posted in the past.

Facebook is able to deduce a shocking amount about your life based on inferences they make from your posts and activity, and deleting those posts will get rid of this vault of knowledge. Redact does this in a matter of seconds, and is free to boot. To start today, go to redact.dev/download to start your path to true privacy.

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