You can’t hide from Facebook

You can’t hide from Facebook

Back on December 2016 I did a write up on Google doing the same with your data, and the title was “Google may know more about me than I know about myself”. As for Facebook they are keeping tabs on you as well.

Facebook’s terms and conditions are purposely misleading, too long and too broad. So you can’t just read the company’s terms of service and understand what it knows about you. That’s why I downloaded my Facebook data. You can do it too, it’s quite easy. Just open Facebook, and click settings, then click the tiny link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” In that archive file, you’ll find your photos, your posts, your events, etc. But if you keep digging, you’ll also find your (not so private) private messages on Messenger (by default, nothing is encrypted). Digging deeper into the file, chances are you’ll also find your entire address book and even metadata about your SMS messages and phone calls.

Remember all of this is by design, and you agreed to it. Facebook has unified “terms & agreements” and share user data across all its apps and services (except WhatsApp data in Europe). So if you follow a clothing brand on Instagram, you could see an ad from this brand on your Facebook page.

Messaging apps are privacy traps

Facebook has also been using this option with Messenger. You might not remember, but the sign up experience on Messenger is really aggressive. On Apple, the app shows you a fake permission popup to access your address book that says “Ok” or “Learn More”. The company is using a fake popup because you can’t ask for permission twice. If you click on “Learn More”, you get a giant blue button that says “Turn On”. Everything about this screen is misleading and Messenger tries to manipulate your emotions.

“Messenger only works when you have people to talk to,” it claims. Who wants to be lonely? That’s why Facebook implies that turning on this option will give you friends. Even worse, it says “if you skip this step, you’ll need to add each contact one-by-one to message them.” This is simply a lie as you can automatically talk to your Facebook friends using Messenger without adding them one-by-one.

On Android, you can let Messenger manage your SMS messages. Of course, you guessed it; Facebook uploads all your metadata. Facebook knows who you’re texting, when, how often. Even if you disable it later, Facebook will keep this data for later reference. Facebook doesn’t stop there. The company knows a lot more about you than what you can download, and that is scary. The company asks you to share your location with your friends. The company tracks your web history on nearly every website on earth using embedded JavaScript. The games you play on Facebook, like Nametests, to find out your best friend, can sell that data to other companies, without your knowledge. My involvement with Facebook is limited for this reason; I never trust any apps without reading the “terms & agreements” section fully.

So the next time an app asks you to share your address book, take a pause, and think that there’s a chance that this app is going to mine your address book to get new users?, spam your friends?, or improve ad targeting and sell email addresses and metadata about you  to marketing companies. I would say probably all of the above.

The reality of this is that you are never invisible on the web, It does not matter what platform you use, phone, PC, or tablet, you need to be more conscientious about what you are about to install, and just how much privacy are you giving up to use this program.  Thanks for reading, and remember at “Hunt Technology”, you always get “Quality Service & Individual Attention” you deserve.  Hunt Technology, 320 Watson St., Ripon WI, 920-290-0936

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