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How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met (gizmodo.com) 219

"I deleted Facebook after it recommended as People You May Know a man who was defense counsel on one of my cases. We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email," an attorney told Gizmodo. Kashmir Hill, a reporter at the news outlet, who recently documented how Facebook figured out a connection between her and a family member she did not know existed, shares several more instances others have reported and explains how Facebook gathers information. She reports: Behind the Facebook profile you've built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you've never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections. Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook's algorithmic black box, people can't see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up. Facebook isn't scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer's address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases. Facebook will not confirm how it makes specific People You May Know connections, and a Facebook spokesperson suggested that there could be other plausible explanations for most of those examples -- "mutual friendships," or people being "in the same city/network." The spokesperson did say that of the stories on the list, the lawyer was the likeliest case for a shadow-profile connection. Handing over address books is one of the first steps Facebook asks people to take when they initially sign up, so that they can "Find Friends." The problem with all this, Hill writes, is that Facebook doesn't explicitly say the scale at which it would be using the contact information it gleans from a user's address book. Furthermore, most people are not aware that Facebook is using contact information taken from their phones for these purposes.

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met

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  • LinkedIn Also. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hylandr ( 813770 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @11:44AM (#55506535)

    LinkedIn Also does this.

    It's just more in your face about it.

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @11:46AM (#55506545)

    I disable the FB app that the cell provider baked into the Android rom so even though it spouts dire warnings about the system not working properly if that's done. I assume that's enough to prevent it from sucking out my info but who knows for certain anymore and what about people who don't disable it?

    • Geolocation (Score:5, Informative)

      by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @12:17PM (#55506785) Homepage

      I'm expect that using the system tools to block access to the address book is probably sufficient on Android and iOS - so long as it's done before the app is ever launched.

      What surprises me more is that people don't consider geolocation. Many many facebook users share their location with Facebook. It's then trivial for facebook to see that you are repeatedly in the same location at the same time as another person.

      That lawyer might have met defense counsel at a couple of mediation hearings in a lawyer's office, then they went to the same court house at the same time every day for a week. It's easy to suppose they know each other.

      Similarly for the sex worker who meets the same client at a handful of different hotels. Both their phones arrived at the hotel at the same time on the same days. Then they left together. Again, the connection is trivial.

      At least with Google, you are paid for this data with better traffic reports and better directions. You can decide if that is worth it or not. With Facebook it seems you get nothing in return while they amass a huge amount of information you thought was private.

      • Re:Geolocation (Score:5, Informative)

        by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @01:28PM (#55507391) Homepage

        What surprises me more is that people don't consider geolocation. Many many facebook users share their location with Facebook. It's then trivial for facebook to see that you are repeatedly in the same location at the same time as another person.

        I've actually been suspicious for a while that Facebook is doing something with geolocation.

        I have a Facebook account. The main reason I have it because of friends and family who expect you to have it. I look at it sometimes, but almost never post anything. A couple of years ago, Facebook got pretty aggressive in sending notifications suggesting that I "friend" people that I might know-- not like I was looking for people that I might know, but they were actively sending me notifications. At first, it gave me a bunch of people that I did in fact know, and I friended some of them and it all seemed normal.

        But then, within about a month, they got even more aggressive with the notifications, and a lot of the notifications were for people that I did not know. It seemed odd to me. Of the ones that I didn't know, some of them did seem a little familiar, like maybe I'd met them before. I was looking at the profile picture for one of those suggestions, and it clicked: It was someone who worked in the same building as I do. Not the same company, or on the same floor, but it was someone I'd seen in the elevator multiple times.

        I looked through the other suggestions again, and realized some lived in the same apartment building. Over the next couple of weeks, I seemed to get a lot of suggestions to be friends with people who lived or worked in areas that I frequently visited. There was a girl who worked at a coffeeshop near my office, and a guy I sometimes saw walking around my neighborhood.

        I spent a while trying to figure out how it would have made the connection, and the only thing I could think of was location. There were no Facebook friends in common, and no other connection I could find. I hadn't put my work or home address into Facebook. I'm pretty sure it had to be going off the GPS, noticing that I spent a lot of time in the same location they had, and made a connection that way. I'm still convinced that must be the explanation.

        What's a bit disturbing to me is that I don't use the Facebook app much, and like I said, I almost never post anything. It's possible that the couple of things that I've posted were posted at home and at work, and it made the link based on that, but I'm still left wondering when Facebook is gathering location information. Does it gather information whenever you look at Facebook, whether you post or not? Does it gather location information from your phone, even when the Facebook app isn't open?

        • Re:Geolocation (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @02:03PM (#55507737)

          Well, I don't use facebook much at all - maybe I login a total of once a month (on average - I usually go 6+ months without logging in at all - enough so Facebook sends me emails about how to get back online). I don't have any photos up other my profile photo, which is a scan of an actual photo that was taken ages ago. I didn't have an electronic copy of it.

          I didn't install the facebook app on my phone (I don't use it often enough to justify it), neither my iPhone, nor my iPad, nor any of the Android phones I have (which are Nexus models and thus do not come preloaded with it).

          And yet, earlier this year, it came up with a really uncanny recommendation - it actually found my flight instructor, someone who I lost contact with about a decade and a half ago when he went on to pursue an airline career (typical pilot career progression - you're a student, then you get your private, you work on your commercial license, then you become a flight instructor until you can get hired by a regional, etc).

          Sure, he's active on Facebook, but not only am I not, we have absolutely nothing in common - no mutual friends, etc. Heck, I'm pretty sure I didn't even put the name of the flight school I went to in my facebook profile. And the scanned photo has no geolocation information so it was a scan.

          Yet one day I get an email saying he was the top #1 pick of someone I might know.

          The photo I have was of my solo - so it's just me, in front of a Cessna 172 (i.e., one of the most generic airplanes out there). I'm not really sure how Facebook put us together, but given the limited data set it can be fairly shocking.

          • I had a Sharp Wizard in 1991 or so, and since then rarely delete contacts, which to this day live in my address book. These were slurped up by LinedIn way back when, and every so often someone I emailed once 20 years ago comes in as a contact suggestion.

            That is likely how your flight instructor came in; they do it with phone numbers too.

        • Re:Geolocation (Score:4, Informative)

          by h4ck7h3p14n37 ( 926070 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @02:24PM (#55507903) Homepage

          Does it gather information whenever you look at Facebook, whether you post or not? Does it gather location information from your phone, even when the Facebook app isn't open?

          Do you really have to ask? Of course the app is cyber stalking you!

          If you have to use Facebook from your phone I would recommend using the website. It's still tracking you, but it won't be able to access the data on your phone. You should also consider turning off GPS. Do you really want someone to be able to easily determine your daily routines?

          I hate sounding like a Luddite since I got into computers when I was a little kid, but technology has turned the Internet and our electronic devices into a pervasive surveillance system. The only way to resist is to not participate.

          • Do you really want someone to be able to easily determine your daily routines?

            Remember that GPS is not the only source for location information. Geolocated Wifi SSIDs, geolocated IPs and geolocated cell tower locations make location tracking peanuts for sufficiently large companies.

            Try finding your favorite WiFi-networks here: https://wigle.net/ [wigle.net]
            Cell tower database: https://opencellid.org/ [opencellid.org]

            You can bet your ass that (semi-)static IPs are geolocated using that data as well.

            • Geolocated Wifi SSIDs, geolocated IPs and geolocated cell tower locations make location tracking peanuts for sufficiently large companies.

              So make yourself the 'higher-hanging' fruit. I can't do anything about cell tower location data unless I render my phone useless for its primary purpose. But all those people who leave their cellular data and Wi-Fi turned on all the time, (when I use mine only briefly and infrequently as needed), are much easier to track, and give away more detailed data about their location.

              As for Facebook, I don't have it on my rooted, firewalled phone. And I don't have an account - never have. I'm sure they have plenty o

        • Does it gather information whenever you look at Facebook, whether you post or not? Does it gather location information from your phone, even when the Facebook app isn't open?

          If you check the EULA, I'll bet you see that you've authorized the latter.

    • I spent the first 10 hours of owning an Android device back in 2011 working out how to root it so I could remove Facebook. Even then I had to use a backup program to 'trick' it into uninstalling. On the upside, that returned 20% of my battery per day and extended the useful like of the phone for a year.

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @11:47AM (#55506551)

    Time for new privacy laws, I guess.

    Private companies should not be permitted to collect data on people not in a business relationship with them just because someone else shares it with them.

    Let my sister mention my email address on her Facebook wall - Facebook shouldn't be able to do anything with it unless I am already a Facebook user and have provided that same email address.

    Legislate them into purging any such mapped relationships from their databases, legislate them to ban rebuilding those relationship maps.

    Just because privacy isn't important to someone else doesn't mean I should have to surrender mine.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @12:01PM (#55506655)

      Time for new privacy laws, I guess.

      New privacy laws would imply that there is a society that actually wants it.

      Our society doesn't give a shit about privacy. Hasn't for a very long time now.

      Sadly, those that still fight for privacy have now become an anomaly, so you stand out even more.

      • by giampy ( 592646 )

        I agree with you. Indeed i might be among the ones who doesn't give too much shit about my privacy, because i don't feel like (for now) i have much to hide.

        Much more importantly, though, I do think many criminals and otherwise shadow actors, sometimes in governments but not exclusively, have too much privacy, and everybody (and i mean everybody not just facebook and google) should know better what they are up to (e.g. where they are and how they launder they money). Especially if these guys are there to ser

        • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

          I agree with you. Indeed i might be among the ones who doesn't give too much shit about my privacy, because i don't feel like (for now) i have much to hide.

          I don't have much to hide. But that doesn't make my personal life anybody else's business. Privacy isn't just about hiding. It asks the question, "Does this party have any right to this information?" If the answer is no, they should buzz off. And that's not just about shadow actors and criminals, but applies to what I do in my bedroom or bathroom, what my bank account number is, information about my minor children, my medical history, and even tastes and preferences I don't feel like advertising. Unless I e

      • Our society doesn't give a shit about privacy.

        I don't know if that's true. I think they might just not be aware of how these things work, and how much information is being gathered on them. For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

        Granted, that's not about Facebook. Still, even when there's public information that their privacy is being violated, people still don't realize the scale of the problem.

        • I'm not too sure that a lot of people just don't realize the scale of the abuse. I've talked to people I know about online privacy and how their information is used against them. Most of those I've talked to think I'm paranoid and they could care less that their privacy is compromised.

          My wife doesn't get it and doesn't care, and she and I have had this conversation many times. She is so addicted to Facebook she can't stay off it for more than a couple of hours at a time. Me? I don't even have an accoun

          • You say this:

            I'm not too sure that a lot of people just don't realize the scale of the abuse. I've talked to people I know about online privacy and how their information is used against them. Most of those I've talked to think I'm paranoid and they could care less that their privacy is compromised.

            But then you use your wife as an example:

            My wife doesn't get it and doesn't care ... She can't get it through her head that the only way to reach Facebook is on the internet. She thinks it is on her phone. Physically on her phone.

            I'd posit that your wife is actually a good example of my claim that people don't realize the scale of the problem. Even when they say that they don't care, the real problem is that they don't understand.

      • by sootman ( 158191 )

        > New privacy laws would imply that there is a society that actually wants it.
        > Our society doesn't give a shit about privacy.

        True. I made a facebook group for people concerned about online privacy and no one joined. :-(

    • Further, it should be mandated that every company like this have an easy way to exit and remove posts and personal information permanently. Facebook is one of the worst out there for making it hard to summarily delete your presence once you become thoroughly creeped out. Once they started tagging faces I disabled my account, but I'd rather that I could quickly cull what is left behind or completely NFO.

    • New privacy laws are coming, at least in the EU. According to the General Data Protection Regulation [gdpr-info.eu], EU residents will, among others, have options to access and purge information collected about them come May 28th, 2018. How this will work in practice remains to be seen.
    • It is impossible at this point. The data exists and there is value in linking it... so someone will.

    • Legislate them into purging any such mapped relationships from their databases, legislate them to ban rebuilding those relationship maps.

      It must be nice to live in a world where mega-corps actually comply with such legislation, and where we could rely on them to destroy the data they say they've purged instead of secretly backing it up to use when a more favourable legislative climate prevails. Where do I sign up?

  • I thought it was cool when I got my Star Trek communicator (flip phone) and trichorder (smart phone).

    Not so much when I find that Hari Seldon's psychohistory and MAC III's predictive modeling (Sea of Glass, Barry B. Longyear) is in the hands of Facebook et. al.

    And we still don't have flying cars!

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      Sea of Glass, Barry B. Longyear

      Man, in the 25-ish years since I've read that book, this is the first time I've seen someone else mention it. I'd forgotten the computer's name, but the book itself really stuck with me, and I still think about it now and then.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @11:51AM (#55506579)

    Only winning move is not to play.

    • by dmomo ( 256005 )

      This is apparently untrue, because to "not play" requires the ability to choose not to play. There is no opt-out on shadow profiling.

      • Exactly. FB has had the option of syncing with your local address book for years. This isn't a FB only address book - no - it is everything on my local phone uploaded to them.

        So I don't enable it because I don't want to share it. However, a friend decides to use it -- and guess what.... all my contact info is uploaded to FB without my permission. FB has my email address - and can link it to that other synced address book. Now they know me and a lot more info than I shared with FB. Sorry - my read birt

    • Re:Strange game... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by citylivin ( 1250770 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @12:12PM (#55506747)

      "Only winning move is not to play."

      And have none of your friends play, or your work colleagues, or your landlord, or anyone who you have ever given your phone number to.

      I don't use facebook, but i'm sure i have quite the impressive shadow profile considering my wife, my son, my dad, and pretty much every other person i've ever met does use it. The article talks about how facebook uses your phone number as a unique identifier, and other peoples non-consensual contact sharing of your information, to build a shadow profile of you.

      So no, its not as simple as not playing the game. You have been entered into the game if you have your phone number in anyones phone book, and come on, that's everyone. Who doesn't have a phone, either at work or at home. Unless you solely communicate with disposable burner phones, (and no one adds those numbers and your name into their phone book :P), then you are just as vulnerable. They probably even have your picture that someone helpfully tagged.

      Its pretty depressing that they can get away with this, and that people don't really care and willingly help them.

       

    • Nah, you're screwed if your friends or family or coworkers play.
    • Only winning move is not to play.

      Your "winning" move is nothing more than an anomaly.

      Game Over.

  • Film at 11.

    The real question is:

    When are people going to put to a stop to a company

    a) collecting copious amounts of info about you,
    b) not informing you _what_ exactly they DO know about you, and
    c) profiting off of it

    What's that? I can't hear you over the Capitalism propoganda ...

    • a) Might make an interesting case. We have a law that gives anyone the right to demand from companies all the personal information they have stored. That does not cover some other person simply giving my phone number to FB, but it seems to me that it should cover any cross correlated file they have on me, i.e. a shadow profile. That profile might not have my name attached to it yet, but phone or email ought to be sufficient to identify it. It'll be interesting to see if I can get FB to cough up my shado
      • > We have a law that gives anyone the right to demand from companies all the personal information they have stored.

        We do ??? I know for the government we have the FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act) -- what's the corresponding one for corporations?

        > Personally I agree with an earlier posted who said there ought to be a law forbidding companies from collecting data on people with whom they do not have a business relation.

        Concur 100%. I have NO business relation with FecesBook, and I _never_ wa

    • by es330td ( 964170 )
      If you aren't paying for it you are the product being sold. It is as simple as that.
      • If you aren't paying for it you are the product being sold. It is as simple as that.

        That's fine if you're USING the service. You're getting something in exchange. For those of us not on Facebook; we're the product and we've never used their stupid service. I should be compensated if I am the product and I haven't signed up to be.

  • When are people going to learn? Your privacy is worth something, and if you use so-called 'social media' and smartphones, you're giving that away for FREE to people and organizations that don't give two shits about what's good for you, only what makes them the most money. Nothing Facebook is 'giving' you is worth what you're giving up. Your 'smartphone' is just a mobile surveillance and data-collection platform, and you're paying through the nose to have one. Seriously, when are people going to wise up?
    • Agreed. The promises and dreams of a high tech future increasingly are not worth it. Most smartphone and web stuff has become an ad service first, and a useful service second. Services to connect us have become creepy liabilities you have almost no control over.

    • by N7DR ( 536428 )

      When are people going to learn?

      We all know by now, or at least strongly suspect, that the answer is likely "never", unless some catastrophe occurs to wake people up. I've given up trying to explain to otherwise-intelligent people what these companies (Facebook, of course, being only the most obvious example) are doing. No "ordinary" person seems to understand.

      My personal "shake my head in wonder" issue is the attorneys who happily use gmail for their business. I am honestly surprised that it is legal for attorneys to use any e-mail "serv

    • "you're giving that away for FREE to people and organizations that don't give two shits about what's good for you"

      Small correction: no, you're not giving it to them for free. You're giving it to them in exchange for being allowed to use Facebook. It's a pretty straightforward deal: They give you a piece of software which makes it easy to communicate with your friends, and you give them some information. Quid pro quo. The real mystery is why people think that just because no actual money changes hands, that makes something "free".

      • I guess if you really want to completely ignore the real meaning behind what I said and cling to your Facebook and smartphone addiction, that's your business, but your privacy is worth a million times whatever it is that Facebook is 'letting you use', which really is worth next to nothing. You can be 'social' and 'network' with people without ever even using the Internet at all, let alone Facebook, we did it for thousands of years, and you can do it now, for free, without Facebook.
        • I mean there is value in social networks, maybe not for you but different people have different setups and being where your friends are is useful. Staying in loose-contact with people outside the 6 or 7 that you are able to meet regularly is much easier, and in some cases only possible, with tools. But that's just personal choice, and you are free to make other choices.

          The real issue here is that *you* are on Facebook whether you are signed up or not. If a sufficient number of your friends are, if the servi

          • There is no value to using Facebook. Why not use email to keep in touch with these people you apparently aren't all that close to? Why do you NEED Facebook? Rhetorical question, you do not need Facebook at all. Stop trading your privacy for mere convenience and leave Facebook behind. Oh and if you're actually using your real name on Facebook then I guess you're screwed -- I never did use my real name, and I deleted all the entries and the account 10 years ago, and nobody I know ever referred to me using my
            • Urgh. I know imagination is not a valued trait here but you could atleast try. Repeat after me: "other people have lives that work differently"

              If you haven't been on the site for 10 years then it's difficult to take your assessment seriously. If it had no value then people wouldn't use it. You're right, nobody *needs* it. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have value.

              And I don't know why you're being so superior, if you use email then who's to say that all that information hasn't been captured and processed b

        • by joh ( 27088 )

          Saying that you give FB something for FB letting you use FB without paying money for it just means that this is a deal. It does not necessarily mean it is a good deal for you, but it is a deal. You don't get anything there for free and what FB does is not free either.

  • by zarmanto ( 884704 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @12:15PM (#55506763) Journal

    The info that you (and other Facebook users) provide voluntarily is certainly the primary source, but I think it's reasonable to speculate that it is by no means the sole source of Facebook's "connections" capabilities. Just like anyone else who wants to know something about someone, Facebook almost certainly Google's you. In this particular situation, it's worth mentioning that court cases are typically public record, and many of those records have been made available online. Therefore, a comprehensive search of the web would likely eventually turn up a record which includes the names of the two counsels on each side of any given case, as well as other people who were involved in that case. Cross-reference those names against the Facebook user list, and there you have it: several new potential connections.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @12:16PM (#55506779)
    reminds of that story where a father found out his teenage daughter was pregnant because Target sent her a coupon for baby powder or some such based on her purchase history. I understand it's a big problem in the closeted LBGTQ community and among sex workers because they'll have two FB profiles for their double lives and FB will constantly link the two.
  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @12:21PM (#55506817)

    Orwell never thought that the noose that would go around peoples' necks would come from the private sector.

  • Years before Facebook even existed, I regularly used Lexis Nexis for work (journalism, although anyone can have an account), tracking down people, seeing who was "attached" to an address (connections determined through a secret algorithm), their phone numbers, their mortgage information, and lots of other public records data.

    My point, I guess, is that this is nothing new, and that there are for-pay databases (like LN, but many others too) where ANYONE can get your info, see your connections, and find out ab

  • This happened to me with facebook when I had just started dating someone. We had been going out about a week, and she said that facebook kept recommending my profile to her, even though we had no friends in common, etc. The only connection I could see was that she was using the same phone to text me and access facebook. I thought maybe facebook accessed her contacts on her phone, saw a new contact that matched the phone number I have stored with facebook, and suggested me to her.

    Of course she turned out to

    • by joh ( 27088 )

      This happened to me with facebook when I had just started dating someone. We had been going out about a week, and she said that facebook kept recommending my profile to her, even though we had no friends in common, etc. The only connection I could see was that she was using the same phone to text me and access facebook. I thought maybe facebook accessed her contacts on her phone, saw a new contact that matched the phone number I have stored with facebook, and suggested me to her.

      Yes: The FaceBook app uploads all contacts on the phone to the FB servers at every launch. So as soon as she had your contact on the phone and then used Facebook, Facebook knew your contact data, knew it was new and suggested you to her. There is nothing mysterious about that, it works exactly like that and it is supposed to work like that. This was one of the reasons I stopped using Facebook rather quickly.

    • I do volunteer work and the organization uses a closed FB page for communicating to volunteers. I created an account with an alais, a disposable email address and didn't indicate any locality information. No photo of me.

      It suggest my son as "someone I might know".

      Rather creepy that it is this intrusive.

      • by joh ( 27088 )

        I do volunteer work and the organization uses a closed FB page for communicating to volunteers. I created an account with an alais, a disposable email address and didn't indicate any locality information. No photo of me.

        It suggest my son as "someone I might know".

        Rather creepy that it is this intrusive.

        If you used the same phone or the same browser on a computer for both accounts you immediately told them that both accounts were you. If you want to keep two accounts separated you need to use two different devices for them. And even then some data crunching will give you away sooner or later.

    • by kackle ( 910159 )
      But did she blend?
  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @01:16PM (#55507283)

    "We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email."

    Well, but the other person may have had this work email in his address book that Facebook pilfers completely. When I still had a Facebook account it often suggested people from which I knew they had my email address I used for my Facebook account.

    It's hopeless, you may stay as far away from FB as you want: If you interact in any way with people who ARE Facebook users FB will learn a lot of you. Just as with WhatsApp: You may not use it and not upload all your contacts to WhatsApp, but other WhatsApp users do this (WhatsApp uploads all contacts) and so WhatsApp knows who has your address in his contacts, so they know who's connected to you even if you don't interact with WhatsApp in any way yourself.

    They all may not see you, but they see a you-shaped hole in the network.

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @01:57PM (#55507697)
    Adds no value and creates more work for me to have to manage my reputation.
  • That's my solution. I don't use it and I won't use it. I had linkedin for awhile, ditched it as well.

    I'm not a socialist so I don't put any importance in their networks.

  • We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email,"

    Or they were scanning the other guys email account that he had allowed Facebook into? With email, it takes two to tango.

  • It's about what others share about YOU.
    With how people carelessly sign-up for services that politely ask you if they can scour your contacts to see if they can find someone who also uses said service so they can link you both; why is it surprising to anyone that you eventually become known despite never actually having shared anything yourself?

    We have the ability to compute a LOT of information in this day and age. Think of what Facebook, et al, are doing as detective work on super-steroids.

    My 2 cents. I'm

  • Maybe we can create a new slap face organization. A monument to what they've done to your privacy.
  • The world is small. And Facebook knows many of its connections. It probably mostly suggests friends based on your connections, favoring people that are connected to you through multiple paths, not just through friends of friends but also through communities and events. Often, such connections are not that easy to find due to blocked friend lists and you not wanting to scan through 200x200 peoples lists of friends, but Facebook can easily find such paths. I don't believe it does anything more spooky than tha

  • Years ago I deleted the Facebook app due to excessive battery drain. Judging by how hard they have been trying to get me to install it since, I made the right decision. Besides the access to Contacts touched on in TFS, it is also tracking your location constantly, so it is just as likely that the match to the defense attorney came from them being in the same courthouse at the same time on a number of occasions, perhaps combined with other factors such as social class, and perhaps some shared friends of fr

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