Alert! Facebook buys data of your offline activities without your knowledge

A new media investigation has revealed that the social networking giant buys data of your offline activities without your knowledge. The information that Facebook collects can include things like how much money you make, the stores you shop in, and even the number of credit cards you own, according to the investigation by US website ProPublica.

At the heart of the issue is that the tech giant gives users little indication that it buys far more sensitive data about them than what the social media platform declares it knows. “Facebook’s site says it gets information about its users ‘from a few different sources’,” ProPublica said in its report.

“What the page doesn’t say is that those sources include detailed dossiers obtained from commercial data brokers about users’ offline lives. Nor does Facebook show users any of the often remarkably detailed information it gets from those brokers,” it added.

Online, Facebook uses algorithms to categorise its users in tens of thousands of micro-targetable groups for advertisers.

Asked about the lack of disclosure, Facebook said it doesn’t reveal about third-party data as the information in widely available by the digital footprint people leave behind.

Steve Satterfield, a Facebook manager of public policy and privacy, said that Users can go to a page at Facebook’s Help centre where users can use opt out for six data brokers that sell personal data to Facebook.

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