Thursday, 9 May 2013


Facebook has never been too overly concerned about privacy, which is why they are always in the news about it. With the progression to even more intrusive policies with their new Open Graph plans, this doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better. You knowFacebook tracks you. They have for ages. But did you know that they have about 800 pages of information about their average user?

That’s 800 pages of personal information about your life, available for use. Social media and the pursuit of a fully customized online user experience, requires some sacrifices in the privacy department. It’s only when they’ve learned everything about you, that they can start selling you stuff you really want. It’s customer profiling, and it’s the future of sales on the internet.

Intimidating or Progressive?

It’s never nice when strange people can predict your behavior, or influence it – based on some document you’ve never seen before. In Europe, there’s a law that let’s you see any stored info about yourself. That’s how this 800 page debacle was exposed. In this document there are 57 subsections, each detailing a part of your Facebook behavior, preferences or movements on the site.

Here are a few things Facebook notices about your behaviour:

  • All personal information, naturally – including name, address, phone numbers, gender, relationships, email addresses, credit cards, and all transactions performed on the site.
  • It records all of your chat messages, even the ones you delete.
  • It tracks how you use Facebook, which PC’s, phones or alternative devices you use and what their details are.
  • It records who has poked you, and who you’ve poked since you signed up.
  • It lists which events you’ve been to, when you’ve been invited and your choices in whether to go or not.
  • Facebook tracks who you ‘friend’ and who you ‘de-friend,’ on your profile.
  • It lists details about the apps you use, and even tracks your behavior through cookies when you’re NOT logged into Facebook.
Granted, Facebook is collecting this information to form a profile on you. It’s not doing it for any nefarious reasons, as certain alarmists would have you believe. Facebook is simply moving towards open sharing – which has no room for privacy. If you don’t want it to be online, don’t put it there. In the future, you’ll surf the net and will only have to look at ads and messages that are relevant to your tastes.

It’s a grand data mining expedition, and it can only end up helping you, the consumer, buy more of the things you like. It’s not so bad when you put it that way now is it? At the end of the day it still boils down to choice. If you don’t want to buy a new vacuum cleaner, you don’t have to. No matter how many sneaky messages are inserted into your daily surf time, prompting you to do it.
Yes, Facebook has 800 pages of information about each and every one of us. And there will always be those that are terrified by this prospect. But the social internet is not about privacy. It’s about sharing, connecting and consuming. If Facebook can improve the user experience for us, we say go ahead!

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