Facebook Facts: 17 Things Facebook Knows About You

A lengthy document provided to the United States Congress outlines the disturbing ways in which Facebook monitors its users’ online activities.

They watch mouse movements, keep track of battery levels, and keep tabs on nearby network devices that are on the same network as the user.

As a result of questions posed to Mark Zuckerberg during his April congressional hearings, a 454-page report was produced. Many of the questions lawmakers threw at Zuckerberg in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica incident went unanswered.

Facebook has released a new report in an attempt to answer questions about the Cambridge Analytica controversy, but it provides little new information. It does, however, contain several disclosures on the manner in which Facebook gathers personal data. What are the facts Facebook knows about you?

For example, how much time individuals spend on Facebook is not a surprise, but some findings may be a surprise to the majority of Facebook users.

Things You May Not Realize Facebook Knows About You

1) Information about a certain device

Facebook monitors the type of device you use to visit the site. If you have an internet-connected television, tablet, computer or another electronic device, it will keep track of the hardware manufacturer. Facebook also keeps tabs on the operating system, software versions, and web browsers used by its members.

To use Facebook, you’ll need a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection and your cell carrier’s information will be kept in your phone’s memory. In some situations, it will monitor other devices that are connected to the same network as your own.

According to the long report, “Facebook’s services fundamentally work on a cross-device basis: knowing when individuals use our services across numerous devices helps us give the same tailored experience wherever they use Facebook.”

This is done, for example, to guarantee that a person’s News Feed or profile displays the same material whether they access our services on their mobile phone or via a desktop computer’s web browser, according to Facebook

According to Facebook, this data is utilised to create more relevant adverts.

2) The mouse’s actions

When you’re engaging with Facebook, the social network monitors the movement of your mouse on the screen. That information can assist identify humans from bots, according to the business.

3) Identifiers for applications and files

Facebook can learn more about your preferred devices by tracking the apps you use to engage with the service.

For the same reason, Facebook records the names of the files on your computer. When you launch Facebook, the sorts of adverts you see will be based on the information on your profile.

4) Operations of the device

Facebook is interested in knowing how you interact with the service.

If you prefer to leave your Facebook browser window hidden behind other windows, it keeps track of whether or not you do so in the foreground of your computer screen. While you’re logged in to Facebook, the social network monitors the ‘operations and behaviours conducted on the device’.

When you use our products, we learn about the kinds of material you’re interested in, as well as the features you use and the actions you take. We also learn about the individuals or accounts you connect with, as well as the frequency and length of time between such activities.

When you use our Products, for example, we keep track of how long you’ve been using them and what posts, videos, and other material you’ve viewed. They also track how you utilise features like a camera.

5) Connecting devices

Your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or smart TV may all be monitored by the social network.

Your mobile data connection, Bluetooth, and local Wi-Fi and cell towers are all kept track of by this app if you’re using one at all. It’s possible to tell from this information if you mostly use Facebook in one place or while you’re on the go.

As well as access points, beacons and cell towers, Facebook may also utilise this information to adapt search results and advertisements to the user’s location.

6) Devices that are nearby

When you log in or launch the app, Facebook collects information about other devices that are nearby or connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

This data is collected by the Menlo Park, California-based startup to assist consumers to execute tasks that involve several devices, such as streaming a video from their phone to their television.

A Facebook spokesperson explained that the company gathers data from and about the many web-enabled devices that its customers use, including their laptops, smartphones, televisions, and other connected devices. According to the corporation, this is another step in the company’s drive to provide users with a more tailored Facebook experience.

If you’re looking for a product that’s tailored to you, Facebook claims it uses the data it collects and learns about you (including any data that you choose to contribute) to produce unique and relevant products.

Meaning that they keep track of ‘their product use and interactions; as well as the people, places, or things they’re linked to and interested in,’ according to the company.

7) Battery Health

Facebook is monitoring your phone’s battery status.

Any device that uses the service, according to the business, has its “hardware modifications” tracked.

Although this data might be used to measure the battery life impact of the Facebook app, prior Princeton University study suggested battery life data alone could be used to follow users around the web.

8) Storage capacity

Whenever Facebook is installed on a device, it monitors the amount of storage space it has available.

In order to conduct specific operations, including saving an album of images to the desktop, the software needs this information.

9) Installation of plug-ins

Facebook tracks the type of browser you’re using to visit the site, as well as if you’ve installed any plugins.

Some of the social network’s usefulness can be hampered by third-party plugins like Ad Blockers, which the company is likely to keep an eye on.

10) Connection Speed

According to the information in the paper, the connection speed of your device is also recorded.

Due to the fact that Facebook already has information about your cell carrier and internet service provider, it’s natural for it to inquire about your internet speed as well. Facebook makes use of this information to better focus its advertisements.

Be prepared for 4G mobile plan ads to start showing up in your News Feed if your 3G connection becomes unbearably sluggish for a few days.

10) On third-party websites purchases

On third-party websites and mobile apps, Facebook also collects data via its Facebook Business Tools.

The ‘Login with Facebook’ and ‘Like’ buttons found on other websites are examples of Business Tools.

Data about your online actions is captured and returned to the social network when these features are enabled on a website or app.

Purchasing from a third-party site is also covered by this policy.

It isn’t uncommon for official tour advertising to show up on Facebook when you buy tickets for a band from a site having a Like button on its website.

Facebook claims it collects ‘information about their device, websites they visit, the adverts they view, and how they use their services in addition to transactions.

11) Contact information

On Facebook, you may connect with other users by joining groups and following hashtags and pages.

So the corporation can determine which contacts you connect with most frequently so that their material may be prioritised in your News Feed.

When you choose to upload, sync, or import contacts from a device, Facebook saves extra contact information. An address book, call log, or SMS log history may be included, according to the business.

This data is used to help users find people they may know on the network, according to Facebook.

12) Features Inspection

A 454-page document from Facebook admits: ‘We track when and last used our products by users, and what posts, videos and other material users see on our products. ‘. We also keep track of how people make use of other tools, such as our webcam.

New features like filters and masks can be suggested to Facebook users based on how the camera is being used. It’s Facebook’s position, though, that it never uses microphone or camera data unless the user explicitly authorises it to do so.

A Facebook statement reads: ‘Facebook does not engage in these practises or collect data from a microphone or camera without authorization’

‘Of course, we enable anyone to capture films and distribute them on our platform,’ he said.

13) When a file or a snapshot was taken or where it was taken

Advertisements in your News Feed are more relevant to you because of Facebook’s usage of location data.

On the basis of statuses where you have checked-in as well as your location when you log into Facebook, this data is collected.

Almost always, when a photo is taken with a digital camera, the camera’s position is saved with the shot as well. Allows Facebook to show a map of the image on the social network.

Facebook may also use this information to display users advertisements for a business in their local region that is paying to promote its products and services.

14) GPS coordinates, a camera’s or a photo’s position, or both

First-time users of the social network will be asked for permission to access their location data.

Use this information for targeted advertising purposes.

You may turn off Facebook’s location monitoring on iOS by going to Settings>Privacy>Location Services>Facebook>Never.

Unchecking the option labelled “Location is On” in Android’s Facebook app will disable the app’s location services.

15) In the real world, purchases from third-party vendors.

When you make purchases on third-party websites, Facebook also monitors your purchasing behaviour offline.

Furthermore, Facebook states in the statement, “we collect personal data from third parties that have the legal right to supply us with such information, including as information on an individual’s online and offline activities and purchases.”

A retailer, for instance, may inform Facebook of a transaction you made there.

This information is used to see if you acted on an ad that Facebook served up to you. It is also used to tailor Facebook’s advertising to your specific interests.

16) Identifiers such as Device IDs

Facebook uses a variety of identifiers to keep track of your behaviour on several devices.

For example, the serial number of your gadget is one of those things that can only be used by you.

There are also more broad identifiers that are monitored by the social network such as games, applications, and user accounts. Ads can be targeted to specific users based on the information gleaned from this data.

‘We provide advertisers with reports on the kinds of people seeing their ads and how their ads are performing, but we don’t share information that personally identifies someone (information such as a person’s name or email address that by itself can be used to contact them or identifies who they are) unless they give us permission,’ the firm notes.

17) Photo shares, messages sent, uploads, and imports

Aside from advertising, Facebook keeps track of how you use the service in order to make it more useful and interesting to you each time you visit.

Your Facebook activity includes everything from how long you spent there to what articles, videos or other items you watched.

In order to get a more full picture of how you use Facebook, Facebook does the same thing for your friends and their friends.

According to Facebook’s 454-page policy statement, ‘This can include information about users, such as when others post or comment on a photo of them, send a message to them or upload, sync or import their contact information’ Facebook adds.

As part of the Terms and Data Policy that you agreed to before signing up for the service, this is also mentioned.

This was also a chance for Facebook to justify some of its problematic practices.

Facebook does not employ these tactics or collect data from a microphone or camera without the approval of the user, according to a representative in Menlo Park who was asked if the company ever did so.

In response to a question about whether Facebook’s advertising is based on race or religion, a spokesman added: ‘We offer what we call the multicultural affinity segments, which are groups of people whose Facebook activities suggest they may be interested in content related to the African American, Asian American, or Hispanic American communities.

These segments aren’t based on people’s race or ethnicity, as we clarify to marketers in our tools.

If you want to know about “shadow profiles,” Facebook’s representative responded, “Facebook does not establish profiles or track website visits for those without a Facebook account.”‘

A spokesperson for the business also acknowledged that it collects every user’s IP address when they check in to their Facebook account.

Zuckerberg was criticised by US senators months earlier, who said the billionaire lied to Congress during his hearing.

60 smartphone manufacturers, including a Chinese business that has been highlighted by US intelligence, received user data from Facebook.

Only two months before, Zuckerberg had testified before Congress about Facebook’s unauthorised sharing of 87 million users’ data with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Asked about Facebook’s hidden arrangements with smartphone firms during his recent hearing, the 34-year-old was slammed for not exposing them.

‘It’s impossible to tell what’s real anymore,’ a senator stated after Zuckerberg withheld critical material from the panel.

How come Facebook Had Contracts with Telephone makers for Data Sharing?

As far back as 2007, Facebook has been sharing user data with phone makers.

With the approval of the user, 60 businesses, including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Blackberry and Amazon were able to access the user’s social network data through the social network’s 60 agreements.

In order to keep up with demand for its mobile app, Facebook claims it cancelled data-sharing agreements with device makers. For each phone manufacturer, Facebook would have had to develop a separate version of the app for its own operating system.

By giving gadget makers access to their users’ data, Facebook was able to overcome this issue by allowing them to create their own Facebook ‘experiences’.

According to Facebook VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong, the demand for Facebook exceeded our capacity to produce versions of the product that functioned on every phone or operating system.

Companies may now create Facebook-like experiences on their own devices or operating systems, thanks to a set of device-integrated APIs we developed.

Facebook claims to have a strict policy on how these APIs can be used by other parties.

To ensure that other firms couldn’t imitate the Facebook experience, Archibong added, “we regulated these APIs closely from the get-go.”

In order to duplicate Facebook-like experiences, these partners signed agreements prohibiting the use of Facebook information for any other reason than that stated in the agreements.

Facebook is able to keep up with the demand since most new devices run on either iOS or Android.

The company recently announced to developers that it will be discontinuing access to APIs that are integrated with the device. Consequently

Archibong claims that 22 of the collaborations have already come to an end.

What is the Cambridge Analytica Scandal?

Public relations agencies London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia all have offices for Cambridge Analytica.

Using data-driven marketing and a staff that comprises data scientists and behavioural psychologists, the firm claims it can “identify your voters and motivate them to action.”

Cambridge Analytica boasts on its website that it has played a critical role in winning presidential campaigns as well as congressional and state elections in the United States, and that it has data on more than 230 million American voters.

Because of this functionality, applications might now ask for your permission to access your personal data, along with that of any Facebook friend you’ve added as a friend. 87 million Facebook users’ data may be mined, even though only 270,000 people had given their consent for this to happen.

To aid in the development of software that can forecast and sway the decisions of voters on election day, this tool was created.

Recordings emerged of Alexander Nix, the data firm’s CEO, boasting about Cambridge Analytica’s influence in Donald Trump’s election, and the company’s board of directors decided to suspend him.

Founder and Chief Editor of Network Herald. A passionate Blogger, Content Writer from Mumbai. Loves to cover every current affair in terms of technology. He writes about the how-to guides, tips and tricks, top list articles.

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