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Want To Know What Facebook, Google Know About You?

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Facebook
An image showing a Facebook logo reflected in a person's eye. VOA
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As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of Congress about the company’s practices this week, Americans are waking up to just how much personal information tech companies have collected about them.

Facebook said it will begin notifying 87 million people this week whose information was handed to political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica without their knowledge. Facebook has also instigated several changes to make it easier for users to control their data.

While these and other changes may reassure customers, they also keep the spotlight on the question that has made many Americans anxious: What personal information do tech companies like Google and Facebook have, and what do they do with it?

A Google picture.
FILE – Security personnel answer a call at the reception counter of the Google office in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. VOA

To find out, both companies offer multiple ways of checking on personal data and deleting it.

In addition, Facebook has begun letting individual users know whether their data ended up with Cambridge Analytica.

The company has provided a link for people to check for themselves whether their data – and what data specifically – was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Google

What Google knows might surprise some. If its “Location History” feature is turned on, the company knows the route of your bike ride from the day before and where you had dinner with the kids.

It keeps your search history and YouTube history, both searched and watched.

If you want to know all the apps that have access to your Google data, there’s a quick way to check.

Also Read: US Lawmakers Demand To Change The CEO Of Facebook

To find out everything Google knows, go to takeout.google.com or myaccount.google.com and click on “download all data.” Under “control your content,” you will be asked to create an archive. Depending on when you started to use Google, this process can take hours.

Google promises that “only you can see this data” and offers ways to zap individual chunks of data or whole categories, such as the search history. But the company also reminds users that deleting data may affect the ability of Google products and services to offer personalized help in the future.

The icon of Facebook.
Facebook icon. Pixabay

Facebook

With a new category under settings called “Accessing Your Information,” the social media giant recently made it easier for a user to download his or her data.

Among the items that will be downloaded are posts, photos and videos, as well as all messages and chat conversations. The downloaded file also includes interests and other topics that advertisers may use to send targeted ads. In addition, it includes all advertisers with the user’s contact information. Users can look at what third-party apps they log in by using their Facebook account.

If a user begins the process of deleting his or her account, Facebook takes a moment to show photos of people the person knows with a reminder that the person will “miss you” if the user leaves Facebook.

As consumers see their digital profiles, they may ask why this information is being collected and whether there should be new limits.

A recent U.S. poll found that 41 percent of Americans trusted Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws. Users put more trust in Facebook’s rivals — 66 percent trusted Amazon, and 62 percent trusted Alphabet, Google’s parent company.  VOA

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Facebook Accused of Protecting Far-Right Activists Who Broke the Sites Rules

Moderators at Facebook are protecting far-right activists, preventing their Pages from being deleted even after they violate the rules set up by the social media giant, the media reported.

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Facebook
Moderators at Facebook are protecting far-right activists, preventing their Pages from being deleted even after they violate the community rules. Pixabay

Moderators at Facebook are protecting far-right activists, preventing their Pages from being deleted even after they violate the rules set up by the social media giant, the media reported.

The process called “shielded review” was uncovered by Channel 4 Dispatches – a documentary series that sent an undercover reporter to work as a content moderator in a Dublin-based Facebook contractor.

“In the documentary, a moderator tells the ‘Dispatches’ reporter that Britain First’s pages were left up, even though they repeatedly broke Facebook’s rules, because ‘they have a lot of followers so they’re generating a lot of revenue for Facebook’,” the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

Similarly, popular pages, including those of activists like Tommy Robinson, are protected from Facebook rules.

Robinson is currently in jail, serving a 13-month sentence for contempt of court.

Richard Allan, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy, was quoted as saying in the documentary that the company’s rules are based on revenue.

“If the content is indeed violating it will go,” Allan said.

Facebook, however, said it will remove Robinson’s page if he repeatedly violated the site’s community standards.ABritain First’s Facebook page was eventually banned in March 2018.

“It’s clear that some of what is shown in the programme does not reflect Facebook’s policies or values, and falls short of the high standards we expect.

Facebook
Facebook, social media.Pixabay

“We take these mistakes in some of our training processes and enforcement incredibly seriously and are grateful to the journalists who brought them to our attention,” Allan said.

The documentary also showed that Facebook moderators have turned blind eye to under-age accounts.

“Moderators are told they can only take action to close down the account of a child who clearly looks 10-years-old if the child actually admits in posts they are under-aged,” The Telegraph reported, citing the documentary.

“We have to have an admission that the person is under-age. If not, we just pretend that we are blind and we don’t know what underage looks like,” a trainer told the undercover reporter.

Facebook is also facing the flak for launching Messenger Kids that encourages children under age 13 to join social media.

British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in December warned the social media giant to stay away from his children.

Also read-Facebook Joins Skill India Mission to Train Empower Youth

Early this year, more than 100 child health experts have urged Facebook to withdraw the app.

Despite call for withdrawal by experts, Facebook has decided to expand the reach of Messenger Kids by introducing the video calling and messaging app designed for children under 13 to families in Canada and Peru.

Facebook said it will also introduce Spanish and French versions of the app. (IANS)