The 18 things you may not realise Facebook knows about you: Firm reveals the extent of its spying in a 454-page document to Congress
- Facebook knows your exact mouse movements and battery status
- It can tell if your browser window is ‘foregrounded or backgrounded’
- In some cases, it monitors devices around its users or on the same network
- The details were revealed in document of answers to Congress following Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance in April over the Cambridge Analytica scandal
WHAT ARE THE 18 METHODS USED BY FACEBOOK TO TRACK USERS REVEALED IN LETTERS TO CONGRESS?
1. ‘Device information’ from ‘computers, phones, connected TVs, and other web-connected devices,’ as well as your ‘internet service provider or mobile operator’
2. ‘Mouse movements’, which can help distinguish humans from bots
3. ‘App and file names’, including the types of files on your devices
4. ‘Device operations’ such as whether a window running Facebook is ‘foregrounded or backgrounded’
5. ‘Device signals’, including ‘nearby Wi-Fi access points, beacons, and cell towers’ and ‘signal strength’ as well as Bluetooth signals
6. ‘Other devices that are nearby or on their network’
7. ‘Battery level’
8. ‘Available storage space’
9. ‘Plugins’ installed
10. ‘Connection speed’
11. ‘Purchases’ Facebook users make on third-party websites
12. Contact information ‘such as an address book’ and ‘call log or SMS log history’ for Android users with these settings synced
13. Information ‘about how users use features like our camera’
14. The ‘location of a photo or the date a file was created’ through the file’s metadata
15. ‘GPS location, camera, or photo’ information found through your device’s settings
16. Purchases from third-party data providers as well as other information about your ‘online and offline actions’
17. ‘Device IDs, and other identifiers, such as from games, apps or accounts users use’
18. ‘When others share or comment on a photo of them, send a message to them, or upload, sync or import their contact information’ text
The creepy ways Facebook spies on its users have been detailed in a bumper document presented to Congress.
They include tracking mouse movements, logging battery levels and monitoring devices close to a user that are on the same network.
The 454-page report was created in response to questions Mark Zuckerberg was asked during his appearance before Congress in April.
Lawmakers gave Zuckerberg a public grilling over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but he failed to answer many of their queries.
The new report is Facebook’s attempt to address their questions, although it sheds little new light on the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
However, it does contain multiple disclosures about the way Facebook collects data.
Some are unsurprising, such as the time people spend on Facebook, while others may come as a shock to the majority of users.
Facebook tracks what device you are using to access the network.
To do this, it will log the hardware manufacturer of your smartphone, connected television, tablet, computer, or other internet-connected devices.
Facebook also tracks the operating system, software versions and web browser.
If you’re using a smartphone, it will keep a record of the mobile carrier, while internet service providers (ISPs) will be stored for users using a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection to access Facebook.
In some cases, it will monitor devices that are using the same network as you.
‘Facebook’s services inherently operate on a cross-device basis: understanding when people use our services across multiple devices helps us provide the same personalized experience wherever people use Facebook,’ the firm wrote in the lengthy document.
According to Facebook, this is done, for example, ‘to ensure that a person’s News Feed or profile contains the same content whether they access our services on their mobile phone or in a desktop computer’s web browser.’
Facebook also says this information is used to curate more personalized ads.