Friday, April 13, 2018

What does Facebook Really Know About Me

Computerphile:  Social Media Data

I have already referenced the above Computerphile video in my Google+ stream when I commented about Social Media Data leakage.

So if you did not watch it yet, please do so

To cut to the chase however, there is an easy way to see what data Facebook holds directly about you from you

Actually download it from Facebook.

Possibly as a result of the volume of request clicking on the /Download a copy/ link from the settings in Facebook initiates a process, not an immediate download.

For Marcus, a day later I was sent an email and then I had to click on a link upon which a 300 Megabyte file was downloaded.

Yes, this puny size indicates that I am a minnow of a Facebook user.  I use it primarily because so many of my friends, many of whom are in different countries and timezones do too.  And they started it!  To be fair though it's now my only online form of mass friend communication.

I don't use a Single Facebook App, or ever use Facebook to sign in on other Websites, or use it for News.  For News I use something called a News website :-)

What Information?

I just finished analysing my download

- It was relatively small

- It is split into the above sections

- IP tracking

Every video and photo uploaded contains date and source IP address information.  This is a location giveaway, so if you upload pictures from your Work computer then Facebook and anybody who could sequester this information  (a Government in a worst case?) could prove where you were at certain times.

Recently Marcus and Agata added (another) levels of security to our Household Infrastructure.  To be documented when fully tested.   But basically all Household devices can use VPN encryption and or TOR IP address anonymisation using eBlocker

eBlocker allows me to arbitrarily change my country exit node to really confuse Facebook or any tracking server

 eBlocker allows you to switch the IP anonymisation for each device individually

- There were NO major surprises except one.  Facebook seems to have uploaded every contact I ever knew about including their telephone numbers and emails.

This was moderately disturbing.

Ironically it does not include my mobile telephone number because I do not hold that information on Facebook.

But yes, pretty much everybody else I ever knew had their email address and telephone numbers there.  Many totally and utterly obsolete.

I feel there is a lot of disinformation about the Cambridge Analytica case, and about the timeline of what Zuck knew and when, and what Analytica were instructed to do with the data they had harvested  (basically delete it).


I'm sure there are countless examples but here is one from Emma Brockes who writes for the Guardian that she is leaving Facebook, but I actually checked.  She is still there.

The media is awash with knee jerk reactions,  many rather inaccurate, whilst not actually fake news, mostly pompous journalism with op-ed's trying to make a point using varying degrees of knowing or unknowing ignorance.

You can analysis start here

I am pretty much old skool,  when I pay for a service to interact and communicate with people .... Oh wait, I just remembered I get Facebook  (and services like gmail) absolutely free of charge.

So yes, my old skool,  UK Law mentality remains intact.  If I get a service at zero financial cost  I will expect to pay in other ways, and the quid pro quo for Facebook is my data.

To those who are quitting Facebook because they checked what data was held and were outraged, well I'm sorry to see you go, but this is absolutely your choice. You just won't be hearing from me or other friends so readily in the future :-(

Zuk at Congress