Who’s Afraid of Facebook?
Facebook recently released a rather long list of all the information and data they record about their users, and it is pretty terrifying.
I was going to start this article off with a scary analogy about how our current world is slowly starting to look very similar to that of a post-apocalyptic utopian nightmare, but I then realised that the analogy really wasn’t needed. I just need to show you the facts, and that will be enough to make you sleep with the light on…and maybe some tin foil wrapped around your head.
The 98 long list has all the expected stuff such as, Relationship status, Age, Location, Sex, and Occupation, but there are also quite a few bits that make you shiver and feel really rather naked when you’re sat in front of your computer. The social networking giant currently tracks Income and net worth, Home value, Credit card type, Political standing, Style and Brand of car, and so much more. Facebook even decides what type of Mother you are. Whether you are a sporty mum, a trendy mum, or an Iceland mum, Facebook will put you into some sort of grouping system.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook have been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons regarding data collection. In 2015, Facebook were caught with their pants down when it came to light that Facebook were tracking non-users as well. Researchers found that anyone who visited a Facebook.com domain instantly had a datr cookie installed on their browser. This cookie then tracked the person’s online movements for the next two years. If you were silly enough to not read the Facebook terms and agreements before joining, like myself, then Facebook are fully entitled to drag whatever data they want and track you wherever you go online. But they were tracking everyone regardless if they liked it or not, and so it’s pretty easy to see why the court went against Facebook.
After that little blip Facebook went back to just tracking their users and collecting data on virtually everything about their life, which is absolutely fine and we’re all okay with it… (Sarcasm doesn’t come across very well in text form, so I’m just going to tell you when I’m being sarcastic) I’m being sarcastic. Of course none of us are okay with it, but what we care about doesn’t matter now we’ve ticked that “Agree” box.
Facebook do amazingly actually have reasons for collecting all this data. Obviously no one in their right mind would ever pay for Facebook, even though it would be a mere 25 pennies a month (Yes, 25p is all it takes to remove ads from Facebook), and so Facebook rely on their advertisement to keep things running. Facebook then use the data collected to be able to have relevant adverts pop up all over your Facebook. No, they don’t leak the data to other companies because that would be a breach in the terms and agreements, but what they do is take all responsibility for the advertisement and then they decide what advert goes where. So for example, if you’re a known user of beauty products then Facebook will throw every beauty advert they have at you. It’s simple really.
So to conclude, we are all completely fine with Facebook tracking our entire life because in a couple of years we may need to buy a new car or vote for a new political leader, and then they’ll have the perfect advert for us. Thank you Facebook for tracking me, I completely accept and appreciate your online stalking…I’m being sarcastic.