Facebook is making several clarifications about how it collects data from users. Turns out the embattled social company — presently embroiled in one of the most critical data privacy issues of the modern era — still collects information from users who don't actively use the network.
In a blog post, product management director David Baser explained that third-party services send data about their users to Facebook regardless whether those users have active Facebook profiles.
Yup, Facebook Collects Your Data Even If You Don't Use Facebook
In exchange of that information, Facebook helps those services serve ads pertinent to accounts and analytics that paint a broader picture of how people use their apps. Facebook gets this kind of data by virtue of websites and services that incorporate like and share buttons or via websites that offer Facebook logins.
Simply put, when someone visits a website that uses Facebook's services, the company receives information regardless whether that person is logged out of their account or don't have one.
"This is because other apps and sites don't know who is using Facebook," wrote Baser.
Among the companies that employ Facebook plugins include Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and a host of others. Amazon, Google, and handful of websites similarly offer logging in via Facebook. Most of these companies, if not all, offer advertising services.
"In fact, most websites and apps send the same information to multiple companies each time you visit them."
What Facebook Does With Your Data
Facebook uses information it's collected to make its content and ads better, explained Baser. In addition, the company also uses that information to keep the site secure. For example, receiving data about the sites a particular browser has visited can help Facebook better identify bad agents. If someone attempts to log in from a different IP address, Facebook will prompt the account with questions for verification purposes. Also, if a browser visits a particular site hundreds of times in the span of a short period, Facebook might determine it as the workings of a bot and implement appropriate actions.
Baser also explained the kind of control users have with their data. Users may opt out of ads or delete their profiles, for example. Most of what's stated above isn't new information, however, but rather Facebook's attempt to become more transparent with its audiences.
The company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently appeared before the U.S. Congress to answer questions regarding privacy amid the site's messy Cambridge Analytica fiasco, in which information from tens of millions of people were acquired without their consent.