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.
If you never understood what "being a product on $FB " means, go to Settings -> "Download a copy of your Facebook data." and then go to Ads tab to see the list of the companies that acquired your data. Mine is so long that it couldn't fit on my 34' monitor. pic.twitter.com/dIydW9o5ND
— Łukasz Strzałkowski (@lukaszx0) March 22, 2018
Downloaded my facebook data as a ZIP file
Somehow it has my entire call history with my partner's mum pic.twitter.com/CIRUguf4vD
— Dylan McKay (@dylanmckaynz) March 21, 2018
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.
Just downloaded a copy of my Facebook data and I am honestly contemplating deactivating soon. The have every single message I have ever sent, details of my contacts, and a call log of every single call I've made on my phone…. (not even on the messenger app!)
— Haleema Khan (@haleemak_) March 26, 2018
The also have random pictures from my PRIVATE profile, even though every app that you authorise to use with Facebook insists they ONLY pull data from your public profile. This is not true. Download your own data and you'll see!
— Haleema Khan (@haleemak_) March 26, 2018
I recommend everyone going to Facebook>Settings>Download a copy of your Facebook data. It lets you learn what data @facebook has on you. Or at least what they're willing to tell you they have on you. Here's a page from my .zip file. Never agreed to all of these ppl having my info pic.twitter.com/icAaX69fqt
— Eliana Block (@ElianaBlock) March 26, 2018
I just downloaded my Facebook data, and yes, like others, they do have all the mobile numbers in my address book, including some sensitive ones, so now what, as I lean on this open stable door watching the horse disappear over the hill?
— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) March 25, 2018
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:
I downloaded my Facebook data and now I'm going through it. Biggest surprise so far:
Facebook gave Sum 41 my contact info pic.twitter.com/zPfu2qqhFd
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) March 23, 2018
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.
“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.
“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.
Prepare to be surprised — and likely not in a good way.
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