One of the many aspects in need of discussion in today’s technology driven life is privacy on both physical and virtual sectors. Facebook is in the spotlight this time with it’s new user agreement.
If you haven’t yet red the new terms of service which was silently released upon users in their notification panel (ready to be swiped away), then now is the time, because let me put it plain and simple to you (unlike Facebook). Facebook has you.
Facebook views you at this stage as an asset, a tool, to make money. If you haven’t seen the recent adverts on Facebook , clean your glasses or throw some eye-drops into your eyes. This is only going to get worse with the previously mentioned new user agreement. This then is the perfect time to explain the new additions and how it will impact you.
“By using our services after January 1, 2015, you agree to our updated terms, data policy, and cookies policy and to seeing improved ads based on apps and sites you use. Learn more below about these updates and how to control the ads you see.” – Facebook
The first encounter
“Making Ads Better
Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. Based on this activity, we may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.” – Facebook
You should note that the Facebook application as well as the Messenger application has in it’s power the ability to see everything you do on your smartphone/tablet. Have a look at the following news report from Fox news:
This then goes hand in hand with the above statement of making ads better. They will use your data to give you in return the ads you are looking for. For your data to be obtained, Facebook has to gather your data. This means that your privacy is taking a considerable hit when you install the Facebook and Messenger app.
You might ask me, why should I even care? I will then ask you, will you walk up to an advertising agency and give them a list of all your recent searches or chats?
This does go further than this, because Facebook is becoming synonymous with Spyware.
Facebook has access to all your contacts and to the microphone of your smartphone. They say it is to provide a better experience, but you will be a fool to believe that a company as big as Facebook wouldn’t use this to gather your data.
The second encounter
“What You See
Customize what you see from friends and advertisers.
Finally out the bag how to alter what you ‘see’ in your feed -> a) create a ‘Close Friends’ list b) like more ‘Pages’ you care about.” – Facebook
This does sound like something you should be doing, isn’t this what Facebook is about anyway? No.
Facebook isn’t here to give you more of those lovely cat photo’s you like. They are doing a thing called narrow casting by auto targeting. They want you to feel like you are in control of what you see, but sadly you are only increasing your data throughput to the servers of Facebook.
The third encounter
“What kinds of information do we collect?
Things you do and information you provide.
We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide, such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created. We also collect information about how you use our Services, such as the types of content you view or engage with or the frequency and duration of your activities.” – Facebook
If you read the above statement, I hope you realise the amount of data gathering happening to you. To safe yourself from this trap, never use geo location in your photos or posts. This means telling your friends where you took a picture or where you were. This leaves a trail and makes Facebook learn your habits.
The fourth encounter
“Things others do and information they provide.
We also collect content and information that other people provide when they use our Services, including information about you, such as when they share a photo of you, send a message to you, or upload, sync or import your contact information.
Your networks and connections.
We collect information about the people and groups you are connected to and how you interact with them, such as the people you communicate with the most or the groups you like to share with. We also collect contact information you provide if you upload, sync or import this information (such as an address book) from a device.
We collect information from or about the computers, phones, or other devices where you install or access our Services, depending on the permissions you’ve granted.
We may associate the information we collect from your different devices, which helps us provide consistent Services across your devices.
Here are some examples of the device information we collect:
Attributes such as the operating system, hardware version, device settings, file and software names and types, battery and signal strength, and device identifiers.
Device locations, including specific geographic locations, such as through GPS, Bluetooth, or WiFi signals.
Connection information such as the name of your mobile operator or ISP, browser type, language and time zone, mobile phone number and IP address.” – Facebook
This is a violation of your privacy
All of the above is not normal behaviour for an internet website. It will definitely be in your favour if you remove the Facebook app and Messenger app from your phone and tablet. Also consider not using Facebook at all and deleting your account. There are better alternatives out there.
Alternatives that do care
Alternative social network ello.co is build for it’s ad less and privacy safe behaviour. Ello is registered as a non-profit organisation which means that it will never sell your data for money or gather your data to serving you ads.
“Your social network is owned by advertisers.
Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.
We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.
We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.
You are not a product.” – ello