Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SALIM VIRANI: Top 9 Reasons to Stop Using Facebook... Now.

After reading Facebook's newly updated "Terms of Service" in 2015, entrepreneur Salim Virani wrote a warning for friends and family. He recently updated the article, and it's well worth revisiting (note: I am unable to view the entire article in the Chrome browser, hopefully you have better luck).

Facebook doesn’t keep any of your data safe or anonymous, no matter how much you lock down your privacy settings. Those are all a decoy. There are very serious privacy breaches, like selling your product endorsement to advertisers and politicians, tracking everything you read on the internet, or using data from your friends to learn private things about you - none of these privacy breaches have an off switch. Worse yet, Facebook does these things without ever letting you know, or revealing the damage to you if you ask.

Facebook gives your data to “third-parties” through your use of apps, and then say that’s you doing it, not them. Every time you use an app connected to Facebook, you’re allowing Facebook to escape its own privacy policy with you and with your friends. It’s like when my brother used to make me punch myself and ask, “why are you punching yourself?” Then he’d tell my mum it wasn’t his fault.

I dug in. I discovered all the spying Facebook does – which I double-checked with articles from big reputable news sources and academic studies that were heavily scrutinised. (Links are all in the Source section at the bottom of this post.)

It sounds nuts when you put it all together!

  1. Facebooks creates false endorsements for products from you to your friends - and they never reveal this to you.
  2. When you see a like button on the web, Facebook is tracking that you’re reading that page. It scans the keywords on that page and associates them to you. It knows much time you spend on different sites and topics.
  3. They read your private messages and the contents of the links you send privately.
  4. They’ve introduced features that turn your phone’s mic on without telling you. Based on their track-record changing privacy settings back without telling you, audio surveillance is likely to start happening without your knowledge.
  5. They can use face recognition to track your location through pictures , even those that aren’t on Facebook. (Pictures taken with mobile phones have time, date and GPS data built into them.)
  6. They track your location, and use that to discover private things about you, like if you’re sick (because you’re at the doctor or a specialist), who you sleep with (who’s beside you at night), where you work, if you’re job-searching (1-hour meetings at competitors offices), etc.
  7. They’ve used snitching campaigns to trick people’s friends into revealing information about them that they chose to keep private.
  8. They use the vast amount of data they have on you, from your likes, things you read, things you type but don’t post, to make highly accurate models about who you are – even if you make it a point of keeping these things secret. There are statistical techniques, which have been used in marketing for decades, that find correlating patterns between someone’s behaviour and their attributes. Even if you never posted anything, they can easily work out your age, gender, sexual orientation and political views. When you post, they work out much more. Then they reveal it to banks, insurance companies, governments, and of course, advertisers.


The latest privacy change

Finally, I want to explain how this latest privacy change makes things way worse, and way more out of your control if you stay on Facebook.

Facebook is demanding to track what you buy, and your financial information like bank account and credit card numbers. You’ve already agreed to it in the new Terms Of Service. It’s already started sharing data with Mastercard. They’ll use the fact that you stayed on Facebook as “permission” to make deals with all kinds of banks and financial institutions to get your data from them. They’ll call it anonymous, but like they trick your friends to reveal your data to the third-parties with apps, they’ll create loopholes here too.

Facebook is also insisting to track your location via your phone’s GPS, everywhere and all the time. It’ll know exactly who you spend your time with. They’ll know your habits, they’ll know when you call in sick at work, but are really out bowling. “Sal likes 2pm Bowling at Secret Lanes.” They’ll know if you join an addict support group, or go to a psychiatrist, or a psychic, or a mistress. They’ll know how many times you’ve been to the doctor or hospital, and be able to share that with prospective insurers or employers. They’ll know when you’re secretly job hunting, and will sell your endorsement for job sites to your friends and colleagues – you’ll be revealed.

They’ll know everything that can be revealed by your location, and they’ll use it however they want to make a buck.

It's a wonder anyone cognizant of these terms would rely on Facebook or use it in any personal capacity.

Hat tip: BadBlue Tech News.


commoncents said...

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Anonymous said...

Pro tip: Keep your phone's location service turned off unless you need it. If any location data is still available to a phone app, it is only very general. This also reduces battery consumption.

-- theBuckWheat.

Anonymous said...

Very nice words from the author. Good article to share with your SpaceBook friends... I deleted the SpaceBook app from my phone, BTW!