Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress

Facebook We're not the only one who collects your data for ad targeting

Baser said when you use those websites or apps, Facebook collects data to show relevant ads, make other sites more social and "help" them "better understand how people use their services".

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. An uplifting thought. Better still, lots of companies are doing similar things, such as Twitter, Google and Amazon. "These companies and many others also offer advertising services", adds Baser.

"There are three main ways in which Facebook uses the information we get from other websites and apps", said Facebook Product Management Director, David Baser.

In a blog post addressing some of the questions Mark Zuckerberg failed to properly answer in front of Congress, Facebook has admitted that it tracks both users and non-users as they use the web.

In response to the report, a Cambridge Analytica spokesperson confirmed that the company has been "developing a suite of technologies to help individuals reclaim their personal data from corporate entities" before the Facebook hubbub.

The blog post states that it is not just Facebook that collects such data.

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In the document, Facebook illustrates how it can crunch its user base of over 2 billion people and predicts millions of people who are "at risk" of jumping ship from one brand to a competitor. Finally, if you don't want us to use your Facebook interests to show you ads on other websites and apps, there's a control for that too. This law is designed make tech companies like Google and Facebook comply with rules regarding the protection of their customers' data.

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. It also gets cookies, which are identifiers that websites use to know if you've visited before.

The company aquired the data using a Facebook app called "thisisyourdigitallife" - developed by Cambridge University academic Aleksandr Kogan. These can be tracked even if you're logged out of your Facebook account.

And yet, critics argue that Zuckerberg has not said enough about the extent of data gathering and its use. As a former publishing executive, I get it: setting default permissions - making users opt out of settings instead of choosing them - is the fastest way to bring a new member on-board and the most efficient way to create critical mass for advertisers.

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

Zuckerberg had told the US Congress last week that his own personal data was part of 87 million users' that was "improperly shared" with British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.


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