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Facebook Data Miner Will Shock You 164

MojoKid (1002251) writes "A new website sponsored by Ubisoft as part of its advertising campaign for the upcoming hacking-themed game Watch Dogs isn't just a plug for the title — it's a chilling example of exactly how easy it is for companies to mine your data. While most folks are normally averse to giving any application or service access to their Facebook account, the app can come back with some interesting results if you dare. Facebook's claims that it can identify you with 98.3% accuracy based on images.The Datashadow app also offers the ability to compare various character traits and gives a great deal of information about total number of posts, post times and inferred values about income, location, and lifestyle. Is Ubisoft actually performing some kind of data analysis? Almost certainly not. This is far from an exhaustive, comprehensive examination of someone's personality or FB posting habits. The companies that actually perform that kind of data analysis are anything but cheap. The point Ubisoft is making, however, is that your FB profile contains enormous amounts of information in a single place that can be mined in any number of ways. All of this information absolutely is combined and collated to create detailed digital profiles of all of us, and the more we engage with various online services (from Facebook to Google Plus), the larger the data pool becomes."
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Facebook Data Miner Will Shock You

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  • Wolfram Alpha (Score:4, Interesting)

    by astro ( 20275 ) on Friday April 25, 2014 @08:11AM (#46839799) Homepage

    I'd place a small wager that Ubi partnered with Wolfram Alpha on this - I did the Watch Dogs thing about a week ago, and thought it was actually a quite coolly stylized representation of basically very close to what WA spits out as analysis of my Facebook profile. I wasn't shocked. Rather, I thought it was pretty trick marketing, and was impressed.

  • There's this line in the article that says "people with similar beliefs tend to cluster together" -- it may be my best defense against datamining me. The people I have on my Facebook - account pretty much have nothing in common with me except for family members, and even they only share blood with me. If you were to base your opinion on me on the people that have added me to their circles you'd pretty much be totally off the course.

  • Something to do (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kqc7011 ( 525426 ) on Friday April 25, 2014 @08:50AM (#46840003)
    I feed most / some my profiles with false information. The email address that I use for sign-ups gets most of my spam. The land line that I use for sign-ups goes to a two ring answering machine with a short message and minimum time to record the spiel. The intentional misspelling of my name shows up on my junk snail mail. The multitude of birthdays that I have show up regularly. I sign up for emailing lists that I have no interest in, then after awhile remove myself from said lists. Those are just some of the things done.
  • by tippe ( 1136385 ) on Friday April 25, 2014 @08:54AM (#46840017)

    That is exactly what I was thinking when I read that title. I expect the next slashdot story to be about a Columbus mom who is hated by computer anti-virus experts because she discovered one simple trick to rid your computer of viruses (with shocking results!!!).

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday April 25, 2014 @09:02AM (#46840063)

    ...I don't use Facebook. I'd keep away from it all if I could, but it's hard to be in the tech industry these days and have no/minimal online presence.

    It doesn't matter. Everything you do online is tracked and logged by a handful of large marketing software firms. Googles probably the biggest. They log key data points about you as you do this. Lots of things you probably don't even think about like which fonts you have installed, your preferred OS, monitor resolution. All of this data on it's own seems harmless but combined it creates a very unique fingerprint for you.

    The marketing software has plugins that websites can install, then the data about you is collected and stored in a centralized database. It's shared between all of the marketing companies clients. The end result is almost all of your data ends up in the same place regardless of what you do. You may have separate logins for Slashdot and that porns site, but that doesn't matter. They know your 2 separate accounts are for the same person. They might not know exactly who you are, but they don't need to. They just need to know you're shopping for tube socks, and display lots of adds for that. Oh, and by the way, once you finally buy the tube socks? Now all your accounts really are linked to your name.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2014 @09:03AM (#46840067)

    Some of the same entities who maintain databases on you also develop and maintain personal profiles on you. This includes things like ability to defer gratification, sexual promiscuity / addiction, likelihood of having an STD (and which one(s)), sexual fetishes level of argumentativeness or agreeableness, your rank on a scale of respect for or defiance of authority,,(authoritarian scale), detailed political beliefs, number of past boyfriend or girlfriends and whether you were dumped or dumpee, likely personal frailties (vanity, you think you're too fat, you think you're smart, you conduct yourself with an exaggerated sense of entitlement). All o this is derived from FB ad other places and is used to profile you in various contexts from advertising to getting a job to loan applications to security checks and personal "risk profiles".

    Trust me. .

  • Re:Does anyone here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2014 @09:21AM (#46840203)

    Exactly, all of this goes into developing profiles of your political beliefs and a wide variety of other things. See my anonymous comment titled "it's worse than that". There's a reason you can't post to /. without enabling javascript even though web forms and http posts were designed to work without javascript. Javascript is the means through which spying takes place, irrespective of Tor or anonymous proxy use. See EFF's panopticon project for why javascript enables them to nail you uniquely no matter what else you do.

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Friday April 25, 2014 @10:26AM (#46840681) Journal
    Not really shocking. In the permissions you give it:

    and your friends' status updates and photos.

    So if one of your friends gave them permission, then they can grab the photos that way.

    So yeah, what you share put to your friends can be given away by them.

    Opinion: Facebook shouldn't allow an app to gain access to friend's data like this unless that data is marked public.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"