I've written several times before about the real dangers (in terms of threats to privacy and personal security) of using Facebook. Now an in-depth analysis by Vicki Boykis reveals just how much Facebook knows about you - and how much information about you it's vacuuming up every time you use it.
In 2014, Facebook engineers wrote that they have about 600 terabytes of data coming in on a daily basis.
For perspective, the size of War and Peace, the text is 3.1 megabytes. The 1966 Soviet movie version of War and Peace the movie is 7 hours long, or 8 gigabytes in size.
So people are uploading the equivalent of 193 million copies of War and Peace books, or 75,000 copies of War and Peace movies, every single day.
Facebook’s Data Policy outlines what it collects and what it does with that data. However, like most companies, it leaves out the actual points that tell customers what exactly is happening.
. . .
Facebook data collection potentially begins before you press “POST”. As you are crafting your message, Facebook collects your keystrokes.
Facebook has previously used to use this data to study self-censorship.
The researchers write,
We report results from an exploratory analysis examining “last-minute” self-censorship, or content that is filtered after being written, on Facebook. We collected data from 3.9 million users over 17 days and associate self-censorship behavior with features describing users, their social graph, and the interactions between them.
Meaning, that if you posted something like, “I just HATE my boss. He drives me NUTS,” and at the last minute demurred and wrote something like, “Man, work is crazy right now,” Facebook still knows what you typed before you hit delete.
Here are the data points they used to conduct their study (click the image for a larger view):
Something of interest here is: deleted posts, deleted comments, and deleted checkins. Just like there’s no guarantee that things you didn’t write won’t be stored, there’s no guarantee that, if you delete data, the data is actually deleted.
There's much more at the link.
I found Ms. Boykis' article truly creepy. In Facebook's world, there is no privacy left. Given the platform's image recognition technology, the amount of information they gather about you and/or infer from other users, and other research, there's virtually no aspect of your life of which the company is unaware. Even if you aren't a user of Facebook, like myself, the odds are pretty good that they've picked up enough information about you from your friends and associates, and from other data sources, that the company can profile you pretty accurately.
Some may shrug their shoulders at the prospect. I regard it as evil; but then, I was raised in an age where one's personal privacy was respected and valued. I suppose I'm a dinosaur in that respect . . . but I'm not about to change - and I'm not about to join Facebook! What's more, I strongly advise anyone who's already a Facebook user to get off that social medium as soon as possible, and take extreme care never to join another one like it.