Nearly every Facebook user has complained at some point that the company is trying to share way too many things that we post and has put our privacy at risk. But when you post stuff on Facebook, where does it go? Apparently they keep it for undisclosed reasons (a.k.a. to track our every move on the site), but the wizards of Menlo Park have decided to be kind to us oppressed users and let us keep track of what they collect from us.
Last week, Facebook announced that users have the option to download some of their personal data collected since 2010. When you download it, what are you going to get?
- Photos and videos you’ve shared on the website.
- All your wall posts, messages and conversations.
- Your friends’ names and email addresses.
So it’s just the basics. What you’re not going to get is things you’ve posted on your friend’s wall. If you’re hoping that you’ll find that rant you posted the night after that house party a while back, then I guess you’re out of luck. You’re also not going to get stuff your friends have shared as well.
Why has privacy been a major issue for Facebook over the years? With more than 845 million users worldwide, the people have been a great money-maker for the site. As it is preparing for its debut for the stock exchange in the coming months, the biggest tools they have for advertisers is data mining. In its full data use policy on the website, Facebook contends that they “use the information we receive about you in connection with the services and features we provide to you and other users like your friends, the advertisers that purchase ads on the site, and the developers that build the games, applications, and websites you use.” Among other things, Facebook uses your info for things “like telling you and your friends when something is going on nearby” (code for advertising and other miscellaneous stuff) and “to measure or understand the effectiveness of ads you and others see.”
Be careful what you share on Facebook. You’ll find that Mark Zuckerberg and his wizards are really keeping tabs on you.