Frightening Discoveries as Users #DeleteFacebook

We knew Zuckerberg was collecting our info, yet now users are surprised by just how much info was kept.

Users have been very frivolous with their privacy. We have had many discussions over the years about privacy, and what many of us see as the largest threat to personal privacy, Facebook. Without fail, the response we always receive is that users are willing to trade off that privacy for convenience. We’ll hear that users only use Facebook to keep up with friends, and that they’re not sharing anything important with Facebook. Getting users to understand that they are sharing much more than just what they place on their public timeline is nearly impossible.

Now that Facebook is coming under political targeting, and users are deleting their accounts, they’re beginning to discover just how much information Facebook has taken, and most are shocked. Numerous sites have provided instructions on how to delete Facebook, you can find a nice detailed set of instructions here . Following directions, users are downloading their data before deleting their account. That’s a good thing. People are now looking at that data. That’s also a good thing. But bad for Facebook.

User’s are only now realizing that Facebook has stored an inordinate amount of data about them, and their contacts. This is data that was not shared on their public timeline, and data which no reasonable person would assume Facebook would have, or should have been collecting.

For instance, Tom’s Guide has reported that users have discovered that Facebook has been logging user’s calls and texts. These are not calls and texts which went through Facebook, it’s just information which Facebook stole from the phones which had it’s mobile app installed.

Dylan McKay, a New Zealand software developer took to Twitter to share what he discovered.

“Somehow it has my entire call history with my partner’s mum,” he tweeted, “a historical record of every single contact on my phone, including ones I no longer have, metadata about every text message I’ve ever received or sent and the metadata of every cellular call I’ve ever made, including time and duration.”

Ars Technica IT and national Security editor Sean Gallagher discovered the same findings, even though he was using the secured Silent Circle Blackphone. This shouldn’t be surprising as this info is not being hacked. Users agree to the company collecting data when signing up for the service. It is surely a privacy issue, but not a security issue. Three Tom’s Guide staffers checked their data, and only one had their call history stored with their Facebook data, but all three had lists of all of their phone contacts stored within.

NDTV’s discoveries are even more eye opening. Within the archived data collected from Facebook, they have discovered much more data being collected. There are lists of “advertisers with your contact info” and “ad topics” which shows keywords attributed to the user to help advertisers target the user. “Ads History” lists every single ad that the user has ever clicked on. A list of every third party app which the user has ever installed or linked to their Facebook account, lists of IP addresses which the user has logged into Facebook from, and email addresses and phone numbers of all friends you have added to your profile and for pages which you have liked, along with the entire phone books of any android phone you have logged into from. Remember that time you let someone else login and check their Facebook from your phone? Now your entire phone book at that time is housed in their Facebook data archive. It doesn’t stop there, the archive also includes Facebook events, your friend list, messages, check-ins, videos you have uploaded or been tagged in, and also every like and poke you’ve ever made.

I wonder, as this becomes more and more known, how many of those users will still feel that seeing that cup of coffee an old friend from high school posted to their timeline is worth giving up so much?

There is really only one way to ensure Facebook stops collecting all this data on you. That is not deactivating your account, but by deleting it.

And if you do #DeleteFacebook, might I suggest your turn around and #JoinBBM?


Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.