Facebook Collects All Text Typed Into it, Whether Posted or Not
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
It’s no secret that Facebook is greedy for your data – it’ll take anything you offer up and sell it on to advertisers – but it has been revealed that the social networking site collects all text that is typed into it, from status updates to private messages, whether the person posts it or not.
It was rumoured as far back as December 2013 that Facebook employed an algorithm to collect metadata every time a user typed in a status or message that was deleted before posting, but the website denied that it was the case, maintaining that it only received a notification that text had been deleted and not the actual text itself.
An investigation by Príomh Ó hÚigínn, an Irish tech consultant, however, has demonstrated that Facebook do indeed receive a content record of deleted text. Ó hÚigínn dug through Facebook’s network traffic, using a developer tool and screencasting software.
“I realised that any text I put into the status update box was sent to Facebook’s servers, even if I did not click the post button,” Ó hÚigínn wrote on his blog.
“This is outright Orwellian, and inconvenient,’ he continued. “Since I am now aware of this, I am more cautious about what I enter into the text area.”
“However I can’t help but notice the adverse effect of my new found awareness ― am I experiencing the censorship of my own thoughts because of a faceless entity such as Facebook that doesn’t care about you? I very much believe that is the case.”
Facebook’s data policy on the matter – “We collect the content and other information you provide when you […] create or share. This can include information in or about the content you provide” – is suitably vague enough to cover such covert data collection, but it seems highly unethical to collect such data without being entirely explicit with users over it. Facebook is yet to comment on the matter.
Thank you Malaysian Digest for providing us with this information.