Someone is always listening, friends.
But, and this might come as good news for fans of Facebook, amidst its name being dragged through the mud, it isn’t the social media giant.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg has already been grilled by American senators about his company’s misdeeds (including some weird questions from some woefully tech-inept old timers), but if you want the lowdown on their eavesdropping abilities then rest easy.
The Verge have put together a myth-busting video, and it’s worth a watch.
Off we go:
Too long, didn’t watch? OK, sheesh, we’ll make it helluva simple:
People see eerily exact, targeted ads — sometimes about things they just discussed with friends — and they have to question what’s really happening behind the scenes. How does Facebook know what I’m talking about, and why am I getting served these ads at this exact moment?
It’s not your actual conversations that lead to ad targeting; it’s everything else that you do offline and online. The company knows your browsing habits because of trackers like its own Facebook Pixel and those “Like” buttons all over the internet that report back your web activity.
It also knows your self-identified demographics; your location because of its app permissions; your friends and family; your real-world purchases; and what you look like because of your uploaded photos. The company knows a lot about you! Just not what you say, exactly. Plus, it would violate wiretapping laws, and Facebook really doesn’t need to go that far to confirm what it already knows about us.
Great … I think?
Still, if I was you I would cover up my webcam and clear my internet browsing history.
Yeah, we know what you were browsing last summer.
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