July 2022
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Facebook knows you better than you know yourself

(Tuesday blog)

Thanks to a few readers who have alerted me to the fact that, if you want to ‘like’ any of my blogs, you have to do this by signing into your Facebook account. At least, I think this is what happens.

What does this mean? It means that Facebook knows your political and social views. And if you’ve ever ‘liked’ any of my blogs, Facebook probably has you classed as a right-wing, socially conservative, anti-immigration, anti-globalist, anti-EU, Little-Englander fascist. (In fact, if you’ve ever ‘liked’ any of my  blogs, perhaps one day Facebook will close your Facebook account? Or maybe they’ll keep it open if they decide that selling stuff to you is more important than your political views? Who knows?)

I once set up a Facebook account. But I deleted it after about 3 minutes when I realised how much information Facebook was collecting on me. If I remember correctly, when you sign up to Facebook, it gets access to all your emails – who you’ve emailed, what you’ve written in your emails and what other people have written to you.

So, what other information does Facebook hold about you?

  • Full name with any alternate names (e.g., maiden name or nickname).
  • Age (birthday).
  • Gender (male, female, other).
  • Race and ethnicity (based on likes and behavior).
  • Relationship status (e.g., married, single, etc.) including anniversary information.
  • Political views (e.g., Democrat, Liberal, Republican, etc.).
  • Religious views.
  • Hometown.
  • Your current address including city and state or the general area of where you live based on where you log into Facebook. Can also have places you’ve lived in the past if you’ve moved since creating a Facebook account.
  • Your language based on the languages you use on Facebook.
  • Places you’ve visited, where you’ve eaten, etc. based on where you log into Facebook or if you’ve ever checked-in at a location.
  • Type of family (e.g., family-based household).
  • Who your friends and family are and how many you have.
  • If you’ve deleted friends, information about all past friends and family.
  • Employer and job title including past employers with an idea of income level.
  • Phone number with the potential of knowing past phone numbers.
  • Your e-mail address with any past e-mail addresses that may have been used since you created the Facebook account. Your account may also include any other account linked related e-mail addresses.
  • Credit card information if you’ve made purchases on Facebook.
  • Schools attended and level of education.
  • Videos and Photos of you that you or your friends have posted. Facebook also collects the metadata that is also part of many photos that includes information such as where the photos were taken.
  • Facial recognition information to help detect your face in pictures.
  • All IP addresses you’ve used to log into Facebook.
  • The technology you use (e.g., type of phone, phone speed, tablet, or computer).
  • All Facebook apps you’ve added and used.
  • Present and past Facebook groups you’ve joined.
  • The type of websites you like and visit.
  • Your interests (including relationship interests), hobbies, and food you like.
  • All past and present likes you’ve made on pages and others’ posts.
  • Searches you’ve made on Facebook.
  • All pages you’ve shared on Facebook.
  • Advertisements that you’ve visited.

I believe that Facebook also holds copies of many computer files you may have deleted and much more.

Can you remember every person you’ve ever emailed, every email you’ve ever sent, every ad you’ve ever watched and every website you’ve ever visited? No? Well Facebook can!

As you probably know, the Chinese Government is experimenting with a system of ‘social credits’. Everyone gets a certain number of ‘social credits’ which can be increased or decreased depending on their behaviour in life and on the Internet. When someone falls below a certain level of social credits they may be forbidden from things like taking a train, driving a car or even from using a credit card.

Were such a ‘social credits’ system to be introduced in any Western country, it seems that Facebook already holds sufficient information for it to operate.

George Orwell warned us about this even though he couldn’t imagine the technology that would allow this to happen.

8 comments to Facebook knows you better than you know yourself

  • David Craig

    Sent to me separately:
    Message: Brilliant Article on Facebook David. Thank you.

    But should I cancel my Farcebook membership, I shall lose over 2 million wonderful friends

  • Stillreading

    In my humble opinion Facebook is a vile institution. How many applicants for jobs have had their FB accounts examined and have lost out on the basis of just one ill-advised post, slagging off someone or something, written some years earlier, probably in a state of drunken stupor?
    No better is that device which sits in the corner of ever more living rooms, silently listening in to everything said, every verbal encounter which takes place, within its listening sphere, and doubtless reporting back via some algorithm of which we as yet know nothing to a monitoring institution we don’t even yet know exists?
    Straight email is bad enough now, without adding to the capability of an anonymous institution to know what we are all doing and thinking. I use gmail, which evidently now has a constantly running monitoring algorithm, as having received an email from someone I am prompted to return an instant, pre-ordered, response which is usually uncannily appropriate. (I never use it!) It’s all very sinister and I’m pretty sure all we citizens of what is still called the “free” world will live to regret our eager acceptance and participation. (No doubt I am already black-listed somewhere for the frequency with which I respond to this blog and the views which I express!)

  • twi5ted

    Facebook relies on farming personal information and likes to frequently rejig the privacy settings so what you thought was private becomes public without you noticing. I assume this stuff is so useful to the security services that government pretend not to notice.

    Other organisations do all this though and Experien Mosiac has every person in the UK classified. Some of the police forces were made to stop using this, not because of the invasion of privacy or use of personal data, but because some of the grouping names were deemed racist.

  • A Thorpe

    I registered because I thought it would give me access to some articles but it didn’t. Never used it but was bombarded daily with friend requests that cannot be stopped. Finally got rid of it. I know people who like it because they can post family news and leave it to family to read rather than sending emails. But all social media seems to bring out the worst in people. Utilities new seem to be offering free home voice assistants with contract renewals but computers and tablets also listen if set to do so. Its a strange world and it is creating weird people and attitudes.

  • Stillreading

    And this evening we hear that FB is getting into digital currency, introducing next year something called the “libra”. I understand from members of the younger generation that FB is now seriously into on-line sale and purchase of used items, so out-competing other longer-established on-line markets. it’s only too easy to see where they are going with this new currency. How long before it becomes compulsory for those using the FB on-line market and how much information will be required in order to “open a libra account”? What’s the betting the young will fall for it unquestioningly, never giving a thought to the amount of personal information they will putting into the hands of this increasingly powerful institution.

  • robby

    LGBT horrors: Lesbians stab innocent nine-year-old son to death after trying to make him “transgender” by cutting off his genitals at home.

  • Paul Burke

    Facebook knows nothing about me. I am fortunate enough to possess a brain indoctrinated against ‘indoctrination and the hive mentality’ during a time when teachers were still very aware of things like personal freedom and privacy. Orwell’s 1984 was a set book in my day. When ‘Facebook’ arrived I recognized it for what it was and therefore avoided it. The old phrase: ‘no such thing as a free lunch’ sums it up nicely and you should always recognize the fact that there will be a hidden cost whenever you are offered one. Also be aware of the fact that up to the point of signing up for the ‘latest thing’ you have quite successfully lived without it! Do you really need to change?

  • MB

    If you can’t see the product then you are the product.

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