Ever wondered what information Facebook is keeping about you? Well, it’s pretty easy to discover – but you might not like what you find (dun dun duuun!).
Facebook stores a lot of information about you, including previous images, adverts you’ve clicked on, conversations, documents shared on Messenger, and much more. It’s not alone in doing this, mind. Google, for example, keeps pretty close tabs on you.
So Nick Whigham, a reporter for the New Zealand Herald, decided to find out just how much Facebook knew about him. He was surprised to find out it had collected a huge amount data, some of which he didn’t even know existed.
“It included scanned copies of lease forms from a previous rental property I must've sent to my buddies over Messenger, my current tenant ledger report, an old monthly billing statement for my home broadband, screenshots of banking transfers and seemingly endless web pages of all the banal conversations I have ever had on the platform,” he wrote.
“It's an odd feeling to think that, in some ways, Facebook knows you better than you know yourself.”
The site also stores facial recognition data, names and numbers from your contact list, where you’ve been on the Internet, and much more.
You can find out the cache of data Facebook has on you pretty easily. All you need to do is click the small “down” triangle in the top-right corner of any Facebook page. From here, click Settings, then go to the General tab and click “Download a copy of your Facebook data” at the bottom. After up to an hour or so, you'll get an email telling you your data is ready to download.
Facebook has argued previously that it does this – openly, mind, not in secret – to keep the platform free. Some might be comfortable with that, some not.
“We work with third-party companies who help us provide and improve our Services or who use advertising or related products, which makes it possible to operate our companies and provide free services to people around the world,” Facebook notes in their data policy.
Whether you're willing to hand over the keys to your life to Mark Zuckerberg in order to keep it free, well, that's up to you.