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This is how Facebook tracks non-users over the web

18 April 2018

Privacy concerns have swamped Facebook since it acknowledged last month that information about millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, a firm that has counted US President Donald Trump's 2016 electoral campaign among its clients. There are more "hard questions" ahead, given that Zuckerberg's answers weren't exhaustive.

"My directives to my line agencies is to provide me with a brief covering both the advantages and disadvantages of use of Facebook, the vulnerabilities that includes not just the protection of personal data, but wider social issues like security and safety of users, the time-consumption and productivity of users - especially school-age children and employees, and of course the wider issue of cybersecurity and cybercrime". Baser - while trying to give the illusion of transparency - does little more than point out that other companies are collecting data about non-users in the same way as Facebook.

Baser goes on to detail some of the data stored about users and non-users: IP address, browser/operating system information, the address of the website or app in use, cookies, device identifiers, country information, and more.

When asked to expand on her written testimony, Kaiser explained Cambridge Analytica's creative, psychology, and data science teams partnered to create in-house questionnaires that "scraped, resold and modelled [data] willy-nilly". But apart from these kinds of visible indicators, Facebook also offers ads and analytics tools to websites and apps, and even in these cases, Facebook can track you, even if you possibly don't see any Facebook branding or widgets on the website.

When you visit a website, your browser (for example Chrome, Safari or Firefox) sends a request to the site's server.

Fake Facebook account users, trolls, cyber bullies and porn pushers - you are warned.

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The exec would like you to know that "we don't sell people's data". Kaiser clarified the goal of the quizzes was to gather information by enticing users to log in using their Facebook accounts and accept a range of permissions.

Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them.

I'm not sure most would pay upwards to $14 for Facebook merely to remove advertising.

Facebook Audience Network enables other websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers.

Furthermore, Baser only offers controls to Facebook users, which will allow them to customize their News Feed and Ads experiences, and even disregard data Facebook collects about them.

Facebook continues to suggest that users have all the control over their data.

This is how Facebook tracks non-users over the web