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Raise Your Hand if You Know Why Facebook Tracks Non-Users

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook is saying that they track non-users for "security reasons". What are those, and what does that even mean? No one actually knows.

mark zuckerberg

Facebook’s public perception is taking a hit.  I mean, it’s no secret that they “gave” information to Cambridge Analytica.  But this whole ordeal is extremely interesting because, like I’ve said in other posts, even if you didn’t authorize Facebook to access your data, they were still able to track you.  But that’s just one aspect of this.  Facebook is also able to track you, even if you don’t have a Facebook account.  Does that even make sense?  This officially came to light during Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress.  The good news?  We know that they’re doing it, which means regulators might be able to find a way to stop it.

The bad news?  There isn’t anything you can do about it for the time being.  And Facebook doesn’t plan to offer non-users (like me) access to the information about them that the service collects.  I was once a Facebook user, so there is a good chance that they have a lot of data on me.  Old data, mind you, but data nonetheless.  Mark Zuckerberg told U.S. Representative Ben Luján that Facebook collects “data of people who have not signed up for Facebook”, and then cites “security reasons”.  Zuckerberg, however, didn’t get into what these reasons are.  Nor did he explain what Facebook is doing with this information that it gets.

Mark Zuckerberg

I will get back to this idea of security reasons, but let’s talk about how they actually get your data and can users opt out?  Facebook basically says that this kind of data collection is how the internet works, in general, and that users can’t opt out because it uses cookies to collect non-user data.  Facebook also states:

“There are basic things you can do to limit the use of this information for advertising, like using browser or device settings to delete cookies. This would apply to other services beyond Facebook because, as mentioned, it is standard to how the internet works.”

This is hardly a long-term viable option for this, but what else can we do?  Getting back to this whole idea that they’re doing this in the first place though – and sourcing “security reasons”.  What kind of garbage answer is that?  I definitely sound like I’m being hard on Facebook with that last statement, but let’s be honest and real about it.  What security reason could there be to track someone who is not a Facebook user?  This isn’t the government.  And I’m not suggesting that it’s ok for the government to track people.  I’m simply saying that they at least have a potentially valid reason. (Note – potentially)

Mark Zuckerberg

It feels like there is more to the story than we are being told, doesn’t it?  While I don’t agree with tracking anyone, I think that there is some validity when it comes to users.  Again, that’s not my opinion, but I can understand the business model.  But, I still can’t figure out how tracking non-users is ok.  I can’t even figure out how they’re tracking non-users, to begin with. This is just one more thing that is going to bring Facebook down.  I am looking forward to seeing where it goes next, though.

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