In this context, Facebook does not only pertain to the social media site itself but to its other platforms as well such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
It may sound like stalking but have you ever wondered why the things you like keep on getting in your view?
ON-PLATFORM DATA GATHERING
In a study conducted last 2015 by experts from the University of Cambridge and Stanford University, they examined 86,000 participants and then matched their on-platform data against their psychological profiles through a personality test app. Findings show that your Facebook activity data alone could indicate your psychological make-up more accurately than your family and friends.
In relation to this, former Cambridge Analytica employee, Christopher Wylie explained: “We would know what kinds of messaging [users] would be susceptible to, including the framing of it, the topics, the content, the tone, whether it’s scary or not, that kind of thing. So, what you would be susceptible to and where you’re going to consume that and then how many times do we need to touch you with that in order to change how you think about something.”
OFF-PLATFORM DATA GATHERING
Within a number of codes entered, advertisers mostly can gather data on your usage, hence they can somewhat customize the advertisements you see on different websites. Another study from a combined academic team from the University of Vermont and the University of Adelaide has found that even if you’re not a social media user, it is still possible to create a 95% accurate profile of you based on your friend’s accounts.
According from a report: “[The research team] found it was able to predict the content of a person’s tweets using data collected from just eight of their contacts and to do so as accurately as if they were looking at that person’s own Twitter feed.” This further indicates that a person’s political leaning, favorites, religious beliefs – all without the actual person’s account, can be collected.
Does this cause you harm? For the short-term process, it may not seem like it but as they advance their platforms, the sound of them actually gathering and analyzing your personality and likes based on your internet browsing may cause you harm in the long run.
By harm for example, in the past 2016 US Presidential Election, as per a research conducted by Facebook itself, it proved that on-platform efforts can influence election outcomes. Based off a 2010 Facebook-published study, a single election-day message resulted in about 340,000 extra voters turning out to take part in the US Congressional elections that year.
1. It collects data on everything
2. It shares your information with advertisers
3. It now asks for disclosure
With the emerging technology and intelligence of such things like Facebook, people need to be more careful in trusting their own information on these social media tech giants.
Try exploring Facebook’s tools like its Page info data option which shows which pages are being managed from, its history and the ads it runs. While it is an absolute truth that we won’t stop using these social media platforms, nor can we control how our collected data will be used – we can control and ensure that misinformation is limited by questioning what we see and verifying facts before we believe.
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