There’s been a big shift in the way we look at Facebook. In short order, we’ve gone from shrugging about how much data the company has on us to being outraged at how our privacy is being exploited by Facebook and third parties. If there’s one thing about this Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s that it has everyone woke.
The whole premise of Facebook is that the company offers us this really cool and useful platform in exchange for us giving it personal data. Facebook now has a lot of data on us–two billion humans–which they use in all kinds of mysterious ways. And as the CA situation proves, even Facebook doesn’t really know where all our data is going.
A good exercise is to download your personal Facebook archive of information, everything (I assume) the company has on you.
I did it this morning. After I made the request, I ended up with a 216 MB file about half an hour later. When I opened it, I found hundreds and hundreds of phone numbers and birthdate and other personal information. They’re all from friend requests and connections. Because I was free and easy with accepting requests, I have all this info on people I don’t know.
That means Facebook has all this information, too. And this is the kind of stuff they use to target us with ads and who knows what else. The exercise was eye-opening, to say the least.
Finally, here’s a TVO documentary on the company. Click on the image to start watching.