For this post, I decided to look into how much data Facebook has kept on me throughout our years together. Since I can’t check my own right now, this is the closest I can get to my old friend and I thought exploring how much data/embarrassing posts and pictures its kept of me throughout my time connected to it. The first two sources I looked at for information came from Facebook itself. Don’t worry, I’m not logged in so I only saw facebook’s information, none of my own. The first source showed me that Facebook knows how creepy I am. It comes from its data use policy and explains exactly what data the good people of Facebook receive about its users. The first stuff is basic, like name and registration information. But the farther down you scroll, you see that Facebook knows who’s stuff you look at and how often, so essentially they realize just how creepy you are (if they care to go through your specific data). I found it interesting that this page makes it sound like 30 days after you delete your account its completely gone, but I’ve heard otherwise multiple times. Hopefully another source will clear that up. Here’s a link to my first source: Full Data Use Policy.
My next source, also from Facebook, was more clear and concise than the first. It shows a lot of the same information but explained it better and added some more information, like what it does with your data. For example, it explained that when you play a game it stores that information and promotes games like that on your page from now on. It also explained that it gets location information from your computer and mobile phones to pick what ads to showcase on your newsfeed. They also make it seem like you have a choice in what you share with them, but since most users aren’t really aware of these policies, they really aren’t given a choice. Here’s a link to this source:Privacy: Your Info.
My next source explained how much data Facebook actually processes per day. As of August 2012, Facebook was processing 2.5 million pieces of content and 500+ terabytes of data each day. About 300 million pictures are processed and posted each day. 300 million! That seems insane. The article also eased user’s fear of workers having access to so much of their information. Facebook logs and watches what its employees are looking at to avoid abuse. Also, only workers working on something that requires your data for research will be given access to it. So that’s a little comforting after realizing just how much data Facebook has. Here’s a link to this source:How Big is Facebook’s Data.
The next article I found was a lot less comforting. It discussed a website in Europe called Europe vs Facebook that researches how much data Facebook keeps on specific users. Its findings are unsettling. It found its info by going through a user’s personal data request, and it found that the data kept on a specific user was up to 880 pages long. As if knowing workers of Facebook could have access to that much private information isn’t bad enough, the article ends with “hoping Facebook doesn’t have a security breech”. Thanks for leaving us with that terrifying thought. Here’s a link to this unsettling source:Facebook stores up to 800 pages of personal data.
My next source also discussed Europe vs Facebook. However, it explained that Americans wouldn’t be able to access their 800 pages of data unless they were required by law. The article also explains that anything you’ve ever chatted is logged and could be brought up in court (ie if you were getting flirty in chat and were getting divorced, that could come up in court). So far, this article made Facebook’s data kept its users sound the worst. Apparently Europe has a privacy law that the US doesn’t, which is why European users can access their data and we can’t. It explained that a legally requested data file was WAY smaller than a personally requested data file. It just keeps getting scarier. Here’s a link to this source: Your Facebook Data File.
The last source I looked at focused on the cookies Facebook uses for its advertisers. You would assume things like your “likes” and interests would be shared with advertisers, but its not. The only thing Facebook’s cookies share with advertisers is that you are an anonymous Facebook user. All other information comes from outside of Facebook. Using “likes” and interests to target users with advertisements would make a lot of sense and help companies that advertise on Facebook a lot, but Facebook isn’t sharing that information with advertisers. So at least there’s that. Here’s a link to this source:Heres the personal data stored on Facebook’s tracking cookie for advertisers.
I learned one specific thing from this research: Facebook really is always watching.