Facebook privacy demystified (part one)

2017 March 2017 Señior Tech Technology

By Señior Tech from the March 2017 Edition

Several my friends, real, not virtual (online) have expressed concerns about using Facebook. I must admit, I was reluctant to use Facebook as the company’s privacy policies were border-line invasive. Facebook’s CEO tried to determine how much personal data they could sell to advertisers before the users pushed back. Mark Zuckerberg, on more than one occasion, had to publicly apologise to Facebook users about changes to those policies without notification.

Since then, the online community has kept a vigilant watch on Facebook’s privacy policies. Facebook offers its services for free to users. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users. The cost to run all the servers, software engineers, and all other business operations is just under 2 billion dollars per year. So where do they get the revenue to run their business and keep their shareholders happy? From advertisers who pay to get personal data to target ads that they think may persuade Facebook users to buy their products.

Every time a user likes a product, company, photo, that data is stored in that user’s data file in the form of cookies (persistent cookies are sometimes referred to as tracking cookies because they can be used by advertisers to record information about a user’s web browsing habits over an extended period of time).

Now if you are getting freaked out by the definition on the previous paragraph, remember it is these advertisers who are Facebook’s customers. Facebook user data is the product that they sell to the advertisers.

There are ways to mitigate what data the advertisers get. And this is the theme of a series of articles I will write about over the next few months.

I can only relate what I do as a user, so use your own judgement with these tips. Identity theft is an issue, so I did not pro-vide my real birthdate. In my profile I did not provide any information about my work data, education, etc. It is none of their business!

Next month, I will provide a step-by-step tutorial for setting privacy. For now, only set your posts to friends only. Do not set posts to public, that is unless you are using Facebook for self-promotion. The instructions I provide are designed for people wanting to communicate with friends and family without being inundated by advertisers.

Facebook is an excellent venue for posting photos to friends and family once, and they can comment for all other friends and family. My wife and I sold our cars on Facebook just posting to family. Both sold within hours of posting. My sister and brother-in-law just spent 2 months in New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands and Hawaii and, not only was the family treated to astounding photos and videos, but we also knew where they were and that they were safe.

There is an issue with addiction, as there is an adrenaline rush from friends liking your posts; users comment about how much time they spend on Facebook. But these guilty pleasures are an issue to be covered another time.

Download the full edition or view it online

Leave a Reply