Monday, March 19, 2018

“Facebook’s Surveillance Machine”

In The New York Times, Zeynep Tufekci writes about “Facebook’s Surveillance Machine”:

Facebook doesn’t just record every click and “like” on the site. It also collects browsing histories. It also purchases “external” data like financial information about users (though European nations have some regulations that block some of this). Facebook recently announced its intent to merge “offline” data — things you do in the physical world, such as making purchases in a brick-and-mortar store — with its vast online databases.

Facebook even creates “shadow profiles” of nonusers. That is, even if you are not on Facebook, the company may well have compiled a profile of you, inferred from data provided by your friends or from other data. This is an involuntary dossier from which you cannot opt out in the United States. . . .

A business model based on vast data surveillance and charging clients to opaquely target users based on this kind of extensive profiling will inevitably be misused.
I’d like to say that I’ve never been happier not to be part of Facebook, but there’s probably a shadow profile of me somewhere, lengthening.

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