Facebook “data”?

By | April 5, 2018

There’s a lot of angst currently being experienced over the “leaks” of personal data from Facebook. Of course, they weren’t actually leaks or “data breaches”; they were simply instances of people using Facebook to do exactly what it intended. But let’s let that point slide for a bit.

As you’ve heard, it’s possible to download from FB your entire history with them. I did that recently. Among other things, I was able to determine what FB considers to be ad-worthy about me. I’m attaching the summary of what FB, on the basis of its data, considers my “hobbies and activities” to be. See the picture for the full list.

Now if you can make any sense out of that, you’re doing better than I am.  “Old age”, “reading”, and “current events” I’ll acknowledge. “Data” is actually one of my hot buttons. But how they deduce that I am preoccupied with hell, odor, and carbohydrates, I do not know. What my interest in “bag” might be, I can’t understand. And I am about as far from a dog person as you can imagine.

This raises a fundamental question that I haven’t seen raised anywhere. If I am anything like typical of the casual FB user, I suspect that the “data” that FB has sold to advertisers about me is fundamentally trash. Now generalize that. How much of the data on 86 million people that they sold actually has any meaning? My suspicion is very little. So if I were an advertiser, I’d consider suing FB for providing them with garbage.

You all should consider checking your FB profiles as well. I’d be interested to know if they are as far off track for you as they are for me.