What Does Facebook Know?

August 19, 2019

We noted “Why I Printed My Facebook.” The hook for the story was a single person’s interest in what Facebook knew. The write up has a number of useful factoids. Here is one:

All told, my Facebook archive was 10,057 pages long. I decided to discard the 4,612-page document of disembodied “likes,” which brought the total down to a more manageable 5,445 pages.

What a discovery DarkCyber found interesting from this individual’s research:

“A document called “Friend Peer Group,” for example, listed, in one laughably short line, the “Life stage description” that Facebook had assigned to me and my friend network, presumably based on our ages and other data points. According to Facebook, my millennial peers and I are well into “Established Adult Life,” a designation that many of us would find hilarious.”

Another one:

Other files were less amusing. “Advertisers Who Uploaded a Contact List With Your Information” was a 116-page roster of companies, most of which I had never heard of, that have used my data to try to sell me things. The document called “Facial Recognition Code” was disturbingly brief and indecipherable, translating my face into a solid block of jumbled text—a code that only Facebook’s proprietary technology can unlock—about 15 rows deep. Some documents held secrets, too. “Search History” revealed an embarrassingly detailed record of my personal obsessions and preoccupations over the years. Crushes, phobias, people I have argued with and envied?this was the information I never wanted to post on Facebook, but instead had asked Facebook to help me find. This information, along with the facial recognition codes of my children (which were not included in the .zip file, but which I assume Facebook owns), is the data I most wish I could scrub from the servers of the world.

DarkCyber is not into Facebook. We are confident that Facebook knows about BeyondSearch and maybe Tess Arnold. But other members of the team? Not much. We live in a fantasy world, right?

Stephen E Arnold, August 19, 2019


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