Commentary

More Individuals Horrified, Begin Finding Everything FB Took Off Their Phones

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It could be the two words that end up bringing Facebook down: Cambridge Analytica.

Yes, the firm that constructed an app to take data without permission from 50 million users has reduced public trust in the social media giant. This has happened before, particularly when it comes to privacy breaches and algorithm changes that target conservative users and websites.

However, this time major advertisers are pulling away from Facebook. Its stock price is plummeting. And, what’s more, the Cambridge Analytica scandal has users interested in finding out just what Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth has been taking off of their phone and their computer — and not liking what they’re finding.

As you may have heard, you can download everything that Facebook has stored on you as a .zip file. The results, as Twitter users shared, are eye-opening.

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It didn’t take long for people to discover that Facebook has a lot more data on them than they thought. As you can see from above, it’s not just search history. In some cases, it’s downright disturbing.

And it’s not just big companies that are looking to mine your information. As one of the Twitterers above discovered, even Demi Lovato’s official page was interested in her info. And she isn’t the only artist doing that, either:

And you don’t even have to be a user to have your data collected by Facebook — non-users who have visited sites with Facebook ads or shared content from Facebook are also tracked. The irony is that it’s significantly more difficult for non-users to find out what the social media platform has collected about you.

Last month, before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, New Zealand Herald writer Nick Whigham found out just how much data the service had been collecting from him.

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“Since the moment I, and everyone else signed up, the social media service has been collecting and keeping everything — I seriously mean everything — we have ever done on the site,” Whigham wrote.

Does this information make you more likely to get off of Facebook?
Whigham’s data “included scanned copies of lease forms from a previous rental property I must’ve sent to my buddies over Messenger, my current tenant ledger report, an old monthly billing statement for my home broadband, screen shots of banking transfers and seemingly endless web pages of all the banal conversations I have ever had on the platform.

“It’s one thing to know Facebook holds all this data (and much more) on you but it’s another thing to trawl through it and find things even you’d forgotten about yourself,” he wrote. “It’s an odd feeling to think that, in some ways, Facebook knows you better than you know yourself.”

This was scary enough before Cambridge Analytica. Now, it’s becoming even more of a dystopian nightmare.

If you want to find out what Facebook has been collecting about you, here’s a handy illustrated guide on how to do it:

https://twitter.com/ManuelMadathil/status/977289773491654658

Prepare to be surprised — and likely not in a good way.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal for four years.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal for four years. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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