With all the turmoil going on around the Cambridge Analytica scandal, I decided to see what kind of dirt Facebook has on me –Youll be shocked to see what I found
You probably watched a bunch of videos with Mark Zuckerberg being grilled by a few U.S. Congress members this past March. Although the videos of the politicians interrogating Zuckerberg the way a parent yells at a naughty kid, went viral; few people really knew the reasons of his testimony or why he was even there to begin with. Well, let me brief you:
It all started when Cambridge Analytica made a deal to buy data from a Cambridge University professor, Aleksadr Kogan, whose app (thisisyourdigitallife) had collected psychological information on different users. Then, the professor asked Facebook for personal users' data in order to conduct a “scientific research.” Zuckerberg agreed to expose the information of millions of Facebook users without notifying them and not knowing that the academic would actually sell this data, along with his, to Cambridge Analytica for "marketing purposes." Facebook, allegedly found out about this and shut down the app as well as its ties to the professor in 2015, but it never notified anyone about it. Thus, it was all thanks to a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, that it was revealed that all sold data to the company was used to target different demographics for political campaign purposes. These campaigns being the Brexit referendum and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
Mark Zuckerberg testifying before congress (March 2018)
There are of course more details to know about this case, but we are here to know what Zuckerberg gave away without hesitation and how can it affect us. So, how much dirt Facebook really has on us? I personally downloaded my info to find out and here is how you can do the same. Although let me warn you, you are responsible for what you are about to get into and remember this article is only meant to explore the information Facebook has decided to make available to you.
1- Go to Settings
This was actually pretty simple and very straightforward. Simply go to the “Settings” button on your Facebook profile and you'll see a hyperlink at the bottom that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data,” click on it.
2- Create your file
There will be a legend that tells you the quality and size of your file, you can play with it a little or you can just simply click “Create file” and wait.
3- Download your file
Now this was the worst part of it all because the file doesn’t get created immediately, rather it takes a while to be ready. In my case, it took more than 45 minutes until I decided to refresh the page. Then, it took 20 minutes to download the 9GB zip file. And an additional minute to unzip it. I would recommend doing this on a computer and not your cellphone or tablet because the file is heavy. When you finally open the file, this is what it looks like:
4- This is how much Facebook knows about you
Before opening anything, I made sure I logged out of Facebook to see what others with my info could find without having access to my Facebook account. I was shocked. There are many things to be worry about, but the main ones are your location with the exact coordinates of all the places you’ve ever been to. All the chats you’ve ever had. And under “ads” there’s a list of “advertisers who uploaded a contact list with your information.” Here, I share with you some of the pages I opened. In addition to that, it's worth mentioning that other users have found more than just what I have –I guess it has to do with how much you interact with the site. If you are really curious go through all folders.
OMG! Coordinates of all the places I've been to.
This list is longer than it looks.
So are these my interests? I swear I don't know how Trump got there.
Whatever these numbers mean, I'm not liking it.
There are other details in my file that include all the phone contacts I ever had, as well as all the apps I've ever download. To some, this might seems as a harmless issue, after all we all signed up on Facebook after agreeing with the terms and conditions. Yet, think of the value of this data has at a larger scale. What if a huge marketing company could draw statistics of the entire nation's interests with this? But more important than that, what if a politician had all this information in their hands and decided to lie to us based on what we like? They could know exactly what we want to hear and what we look for. For these reasons Zuckerberg was called in to testify before congress and for this reason he publicly apologized to all his users. So, are you ready to see how much information they have on you?
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