Facebook has your data

Date: February 2017

Written by: Charlotte Anderson, Necessity Solutions

Yes Facebook really does have all your data!

Data, data, data, Facebook has it, it has been all over the news lately but what does that really mean? What is data? How did they get it? And most importantly what can you do about it?

Data is simply a ‘catch-all’ term that means anything and everything about you that you have or your friends have put into Facebook. So, things like your personal details, your photos, all the copy that you post and talk to your friends about on a daily basis is classed as your data. And yes Facebook has it and they know how to use it and store it too – not for your good let me assure you of that! Nothing Facebook ever does is in the interest of the person who’s data it is.

OK so why is this such a big issue, well your data is personal and it should be kept that way between those that you want to share it with. How would you feel if you found out that everything about you had either been stored on some Californian server or even worse sold on to a third party – without your permission? What if without realising it you had also passed on all of your friends data too? Well that is just what is happening right now.

Lots of people are now asking did I really give Facebook permission to collect and store my data? And just how much do they have on me and possibly my friends and contacts? Its easy enough to find out but the results can be quite shocking.

To find out what data is being held simply go to settings, then general account setting and click ‘download my data’. Depending on the amount of data they have it could take a few minutes to over an hour. What you will get back is a folder containing all the data that Facebook has on you, and yes it is the same that they have already taken a copy of and stored too.

When you first look at the information its not that unsurprising, at least it shouldn’t be, you expect all the photos and videos you have ever posted to be there but as you scroll down your timeline you start to get a rather entertaining glimpse of your Facebook life – data from external apps that you have linked to Facebook – that data is being gathered.

Even more shocking is that if you have ever allowed Facebook to access your contacts, so you can find your friends on Facebook, then all of that data is there too including any new contacts that you add now and in the future because once you give Facebook permission to access your contacts they will continue to do so. This means that Facebook is in essence monitoring you!

This is not the most startling example of Facebook’s data collection, one user recently reported that all of this text messages from his Android phone have somehow ended up being stored on Facebook!?

Even if Facebook users agree to share this data, their friends whose numbers or text messages are being collected almost certainly have not. And even worse, yes it keeps getting worse, people who have never joined Facebook – or have decided to delete their accounts – their data will also be stored and kept too.

Facebook of course says that uploading your contacts is a normal and a common part of singing up with many messaging or social media app – and insists that users are given a ‘clear choice’ – are they? Were you? OK yes they are right to say it is common practice because it actually is and when you think about it, is it really any worse than say millions of people using Apple’s iCloud to store their iPhone data, including their contacts? Well no not really, here comes the BUT, unlike Apple’s business plan Facebook’s depends on exploiting its users’ data. And given what has now been learned over the last few weeks about how that information may have been used, many Facebook users including yours truly are not inclined to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt what-so-ever!

Charlotte Anderson
CEO Necessity Solutions

Necessity Solutions Incorporated
Unit 1
5229 St. Margaret’s Bay Road,
Upper Tantallon,
Nova Scotia, B3Z 4R9
Tel: 1- 902 – 454 – 5912
Web: www.necessity.solutions