Facebook’s new nightmare: Is it time to delete your account?

Facebook has come under fire recently, with explosive whistleblower allegations and ongoing regulatory headaches. But things could have gotten worse for Facebook 3 billions users – could this be the turning point that finally gets people to delete their accounts?

If you care about your data, it might be. According to a new report from Vice’s Motherboard, Facebook has no idea what it does with your data or where it goes. And this despite the fact that Facebook is one of the most data-intensive platforms in the world.

The motherboard released the leaked document written by Facebook’s privacy engineers on the social network’s advertising and commerce products team, in its entirety.

“We have built systems with open borders. The result of these open systems and open culture is well described by an analogy: imagine you are holding a bottle of ink in your hand. This ink bottle is a mixture of all kinds of user data (3PD, 1PD, SCD, Europe, etc.)

“You pour this ink into a lake of water (our open data systems, our open culture)…and it flows…everywhere. How do I put this ink back in the bottle? How do you organize it again, so that it only flows to the authorized places of the lake? »

As Motherboard explains: 3PD stands for third-party data; 1PD stands for First Party Data; SCD stands for Sensitive Category Data.

Another highlight of the document reads: “We cannot confidently make controlled policy changes or external commitments such as ‘we will not use X data for Y purposes’. And yet, that is exactly what regulators expect of us. »

The problem with the leaked Facebook document

So what’s the deal with that? Privacy regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), considered the “gold standard” for individuals’ data protection rights, state that data must be collected for a specific purpose. In other words, it cannot be collected for one reason and then reused for something else.

Facebook’s latest document shows that the social network faces a challenge in complying with this, as it appears to lack control over data in the first place.

“Not knowing where all the data is creates a fundamental problem in any business, but when that data is personal information about users, it causes huge privacy issues and needs to be addressed immediately,” says Jake Moore, adviser world in cybersecurity at ESET.

A spokeswoman for Facebook owner Meta denies the social network is breaking regulations. “Because this document does not describe our extensive processes and controls for complying with privacy regulations, it is simply inaccurate to conclude that it demonstrates non-compliance.

“New privacy regulations around the world are introducing different requirements and this document reflects the technical solutions we are building to evolve the current measures we have in place to manage data and meet our obligations.”

Time to delete Facebook?

Facebook is already starting to see a drop in user numbers as its data-intensive practices become clearer to everyone. The Metaverse also looks like a privacy nightmare in the making.

Meanwhile, Facebook has been hit hard by Apple’s App Tracking Transparency features, which allow users to prevent ads from being tracked on their iPhones. However, these features do not prevent Facebook from collecting first-party data, data that you provide to Facebook on its site.

If you want to remove Facebook, I’ve written an article detailing the steps needed to do so. If you’re not quite ready yet, it’s worth considering deleting the app on your phone and using it on your computer’s browser instead, to at least limit the amount of data. that Facebook may collect.

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