Facebook is Buying Data on Your Offline Activity

/ 3 years ago

Facebook is Buying Data on Your Offline Activity

While most Facebook users are aware that the social network is tracking your interests and activities while using the site – you can even see what Facebook knows about you through its settings – you may not know that it is collecting data on your offline life, and it’s not being entirely honest about it. A report from ProPublica reveals that Facebook has failed to disclose that it is buying dossiers on your real life from commercial data brokers.

“They are not being honest,” Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, told ProPublica. “Facebook is bundling a dozen different data companies to target an individual customer, and an individual should have access to that bundle as well.”

Facebook, when asked why it has not disclosed the purchase of offline user data, it responded that it is under no obligation to do so since the data was collected by third-parties, not Facebook itself.

“Our approach to controls for third-party categories is somewhat different than our approach for Facebook-specific categories,” Steve Satterfield, Facebook manager of privacy and public policy, said. “This is because the data providers we work with generally make their categories available across many different ad platforms, not just on Facebook.”

Anyone who has a problem with these third-parties selling their data to Facebook should contact these brokers directly, Satterfield says. If you’re a US citizen who wants to follow Satterfield’s advice, Facebook is buying data on your offline habits from Acxiom, Epsilon, Experian, Oracle Data Cloud, TransUnion, and WPP.

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