My Explanation of the
charges against Facebook.
Facebook collects a lot of data about you — everything from your email address to the strength of your phone’s battery. Including ALL your credit card information. And that includes from Instagram.
The simplest explanation for this is that Facebook uses that data to make money. No, Facebook doesn’t sell your data directly. But it does sell access to you, or more specifically, access to your News Feed, and uses that data to show you specific ads it thinks you’re likely to enjoy or click on.
This targeted advertising is big business for Facebook. The company reported advertising revenue of $40 billion last year, and it’s only going to keep growing. Given the company’s recent privacy issues involving Cambridge Analytica, a third-party data firm that got its hands on personal data for as many as 87 million Facebook users without their permission, we thought it might be helpful to take a closer look at how Facebook uses your data to make money.
It’s also clear that many people don’t know the details of how Facebook’s advertising business works. Many of these questions were asked by lawmakers on Tuesday when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in Washington, D.C.
Some of these answers can be found in the company’s Data Policy, which Facebook just updated to better explain what it collects and how it’s used. We also asked a company spokesperson for responses to all of these questions. Those answers are summarized below.
Does Facebook sell your data?
No. Facebook uses your data to sell access to you. For example, it will put an ad in your News Feed, but it doesn’t sell the data you provide to outside buyers. That makes sense when you stop and think about it. Facebook’s business is valuable because it has so much personal data about its users. Selling that data to advertisers would significantly decrease Facebook’s value.
Does Facebook share your data with businesses or advertisers? When?
Outside businesses can collect your data if you grant them permission — for example, if you use your Facebook account to log in to a third-party app like Uber or Spotify. Facebook just announced changes to some of those data-sharing APIs to better ensure that agreeing to share your own data won’t let those outside companies collect data about your friends without their permission. (This is what happened with the Cambridge Analytica situation.) Of course, any data you share publicly to your Facebook page is accessible to anyone online.
How can you see what data Facebook has collected about you?
There are a couple places to look. Visit “Settings” on Facebook, and under the “General” tab you will see an option to “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click that”. This will give you all of the data Facebook has collected about you, from private messages to photos to your search history.
Under “Settings” you can also click “Ads,” which will bring you to an “Ad Preferences” page that includes the interests Facebook thinks you have (and advertisers use to target you), and other information they might use to target you (e.g. the type of phone you use). You can remove interests or information from this page that isn’t relevant or that you don’t want Facebook using to target you.
Do advertisers know if you’ve seen their ad?
Not really. Advertisers can see details about who sees their ads,
but only in aggregate. For example, an advertiser could see that their
ad reached 1,000 males in San Francisco, but it could not see names of
each of those 1,000 users.
Does Facebook use info from your private messages to target you with ads?
No. Facebook says it might look at your private messages to determine if they violate the company’s policies, but it doesn’t use that information for ad targeting. Facebook won’t use the contents of your private messages to target you with ads on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram either, according to a spokesperson.
Does Facebook use your phone’s microphone to listen to you at any time?
The company says no. “We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio,” the company wrote on its blog. I don’t believe anything they state.
Does Facebook use your call history or off-Facebook text message data to target you with ads?
No, Facebook does not use this data to target you with ads, according to a Facebook spokesperson. Facebook can see the call and text history for Android users who opt in to let the company see that data. It also says it doesn’t use it to recommend friends you might like to connect with.
Does Facebook use the same set of data to target you with ads on Instagram that is uses to target you with ads on Facebook?
Yes. What you do on Instagram could lead to ads you see on Facebook, and vice versa. “The same interest-based targeting available to advertisers who target ads to people on Facebook is available for Instagram ads,” a company spokesperson told Recode. “This includes interests based on the things people do on and off Facebook.”
Does Facebook use the same set of data to target you with ads on Messenger that it uses to target you with ads on Facebook?
Again, yes. “Messenger Ads (ads placed in people’s Messenger home screen) use the same audience targeting options as Facebook ads,” a spokesperson says.
BOTTOM LINE; I DON’T BELIEVE ANYTHING THEY STATE PERTAINING TO PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY. FOR EXAMPLE;
DATA MINING IS THE
“Facebook has repeatedly failed to uphold its own privacy agreements and policies, and it’s brazenly neglected the data security of the billions of those who use its social media service,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “Instead of choosing to be vigilant, making appropriate investments in data security and stopping this massive harvesting of users’ information by third parties, Facebook stood by as the private information of millions was funneled into the hands of bad actors.”
Facebook’s Failure to Protect Consumer Data
According to the lawsuit, in 2014, “Facebook stood idly by” while an app developer “sucked down the data portfolios of 70-million-plus of its users.”
The app developer, Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan, designed and used a Facebook personality quiz app called "This is my digital life" (also referred to as "thisismydigitallife") which prompted users to give access to their own information and that of their Facebook friends. When users did as they were asked, Facebook data that their friends had allowed them to see were gathered by Kogan’s English company, GSR, for sale to another English company, GSL Elections. The data eventually was transferred to Cambridge Analytica.
Since the initial data harvest involving Cambridge Analytica, Facebook “made only the weakest attempts to prevent further access to this data,” the complaint states. Facebook asked these third parties to certify they had destroyed the data; however, as expected, this had little to no impact, according to attorneys. Reports indicate some or all of this trove of data still exists on the web.
The lawsuit states that beginning with that instance, Facebook violated breached its agreements with its users, violated its own policies, and broke privacy and consumer-protection laws.
Also, according to the complaint, Facebook has been unjustly enriched at the expense of the proposed class. When users allowed Facebook access to their personal information in order to use the social network, they did so on the condition that it would be protected and shared only under the terms of the agreements and policies that protected it. When Facebook skimped on data protection to save money, thereby enhancing its profits, its users paid the price. Also, Facebook was unjustly enriched when it used this data to make money from its advertising business, even as it was failing to protect it. According to Hagens Berman attorneys, Facebook should have to disgorge these unjust profits to affected users.
They gave the "data mining" to their third party app developers, who gave it to their third party app developers, who gave it to their third party app developers. Facebook had no way to protect their customers, only by the "honor system". A honor system among crooks!
And yes, Zuckerberg said...that he is sorry!
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