Monday September 23, 2019
Home Lead Story Facebook Trac...

Facebook Tracks Even Those Android Users Who Do Not Use The App

"We do this in a transparent manner by explaining the practice through our Data Policy and Cookies Policy, and by using Google's advertising identifier, which can be controlled centrally by people using their device settings," it added

0
//
Facebook
Facebook releases Messenger redesign on Android, iOS. Pixabay

Making things worse for Facebook, which is already mired in controversies surrounding data leaks of tens of millions of its users, a new research has found that the social media giant tracks even those Android users who do not use the app.

Facebook routinely tracks users, non users and logged out users outside its platform, said the study by UK-based charity Privacy International.

App developers share data with Facebook through the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of software development tools that help developers build apps for a specific operating system, showed the findings.

Scrutiny of Facebook increased manifold since it revealed earlier this year how the now defunct London-based political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, improperly got access to data of up to 87 millions users.

For the latest study, Privacy International examined 34 apps on Android, each with an install base from 10 to 500 million.

The apps included language-learning tool Duolingo, travel and restaurant website TripAdvisor, job database Indeed and flight search engine Skyscanner among others.

The researchers analysed what data these apps transmitted to Facebook through the Facebook SDK. All apps were tested between August and December 2018.

The research, presented at Chaos Computer Congress in Leipzig, Germany, showed that that at least 61 per cent of apps that Privacy International tested automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens the app.

Facebook, data
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not,” the report said.

This data reveals the fact that a user is using a specific app, every single time that user opens an app.

“In our analysis, apps that automatically transmit data to Facebook share this data together with a unique identifier, the Google advertising ID (AAID),” the researchers said.

The primary purpose of advertising IDs, such as the Google advertising ID (or Apple’s equivalent, the IDFA) is to allow advertisers to link data about user behaviour from different apps and web browsing into a comprehensive profile, according to the report.

Responding to the findings, Google said that users can disable ads personalisation via a control in the Google Account controls.

This will stop Google advertising services from creating user profiles for advertising purposes or for targeting users with personalised advertising.

Also Read- Nokia Launches Nokia 106 in India

Facebook told Privacy International that sharing data is “common practice for many companies” and is useful for both users and the companies involved, The Independent reported on Wednesday.

“This information is important for helping developers understand how to improve their apps and for helping people receive relevant advertising in a privacy-protective way,” Facebook said.

“We do this in a transparent manner by explaining the practice through our Data Policy and Cookies Policy, and by using Google’s advertising identifier, which can be controlled centrally by people using their device settings,” it added. (IANS)

Next Story

Snap Help US Anti-Trust Agency Into Facebook’s Business Practices

Facebook competitors like Snap are reportedly helping the US FTC as it launches an anti-trust investigation into the social networking giant's business practices

0
Snapchat, Facebook, Anti-trust agency, agency, probe
Snap are reportedly helping the US FTC as it launches an anti-trust investigation into the social networking giant's business practices. Pixabay

Some Facebook competitors like Snap are reportedly helping the US FTC as it launches an anti-trust investigation into the social networking giant’s business practices.

According to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday, Snap which is the parent company of Snapchat, has created a dossier under “Project Voldemort” that apparently contains Facebook secrets.

“The files in ‘Project Voldemort’ chronicled Facebook’s moves that threatened to undermine Snap’s business, including discouraging popular account holders, or influencers, from referencing Snap on their Instagram accounts,” the report claimed.

Snap and Facebook share a bitter history, with the latter copying several of Snapchat-first features into its Instagram and other products.

From launching “Camera Effects Platform” to encourage augmented reality (AR) effects — a move reported by The New York Times as Facebook’s “brazen heist” over Snapchat – to adding Snapchat-style “Stories” and camera special effects in all its core social apps: Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, The Mark Zuckerberg-run company has done it all.

It is Snapchat which has popularised animated AR selfie masks and facial filters.

Facebook has also added Geostickers to Instagram, offering location-specific tags in two cities (New York City and Jakarta) that users can paste over images. Snapchat launched Geofilters back in 2014.

Snapchat, Facebook, Anti-trust agency, agency, probe
In a historic judgment, the US FTC in July slapped a massive $5 billion fine on Facebook over users’ privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Pixabay

Originally launched by Snapchat, the “Stories” feature shows photos and videos shared in chronological order that disappear after 24 hours.

Facebook introduced something similar in its app Instagram.

Today, Messenger, WhatsApp and the main Facebook app have all added “Stories” feature (In WhatsApp, it is called ‘Status’).

According to the WSJ, the FTC has made contact with dozens of tech executives and app developers.

ALSO READ: Hypocrisies of Malala and her Party Exposed

In a historic judgment, the US FTC in July slapped a massive $5 billion fine on Facebook over users’ privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, along with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directing the social networking platform to pay $100 million penalty for making misleading disclosures regarding the risk of misuse of user data.
Democrat Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon is even demanding jail term for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying he should face serious consequences for letting his social media platform misuse consumers’ personal data. (IANS)