Facebook obtains information about its users from commercial data providers which includes things like salary details, eating habits, interests and much more.
Facebook Knows About Your “Offline Life” Too!
Well, while using Facebook, have you ever got the feeling that you’re being tracked? Well, that because of the ads that pop up right up your alley, or three new articles show up in your feed that is somehow similar to something you have just clicked on.
Facebook tracks what you do in social media like what you like, share, comment and watch. Facebook uses the data to its ad platform which is a significant part of Facebook’s income resource. Although, Facebook admit’s this thing, and their policies reflect it.
It is necessary for the Facebook to follow us just on the internet to serve better ads to improve the user experience. According to the recent reports published by ProPublica, Facebook attempts to collect user information from various offline sources as well.
Facebook purchases data from commercial data brokers like DataLogix, Acxiom, Epsilon etc. Guess what? The purchased data includes salary details, restaurant choices, supermarket purchases, gender, location and much more which are being used by Facebook to show relevant ads to its users.
ProPublica encouraged Facebook users to share the categories of interest that the site has assigned to them. Using a Chrome extension, ProPulica managed to include 52,000 categories in their database that Facebook has used to classify users.
This is the data that Facebook always kept hidden from users. Facebook defends itself by saying that Facebook doesn’t collect this data and the data brokers often provide it to other ad platforms. According to Facebook, if any users want to get this information removed, they need to approach directly to the data providers.
Approaching data providers is a tiresome process user need to authenticate themselves by providing a valid ID proof before the vendor would delete the data. ProPublica mentioned that to find out what type of data Facebook buys from brokers they have downloaded the list of 29,000 categories that the site provides to ad buyers.
“Nearly 600 of the categories were described as being provided by third-party data brokers. (Most categories were described as being generated by clicking pages or ads on Facebook.)” ProPublica claims that the categories from commercial providers are mostly related with financial details like ‘people having a household income between 100K and 125K’
Data brokers even provided categories that had no connections with any of the category Facebook displays to its users. You can visit Settings > Ads > Ads based on my preferences > Visit Ad Preferences to check the interests.
Mark Zuckerberg isn’t charging you for using Facebook. So, collecting a handful of psychographic and other data related to its users to fuels their marketing platform is not bad. However, a question of privacy concern can’t be ignored.
So, what do you think about this? Share your views in the comment section below.