It is reasonable to think that if you don’t have a Facebook account, don’t view their web page or otherwise engage with any of their content that they wouldn’t have access to your personal information. Think again. Privacy International just completed an investigation that shows Facebook is routinely tracking users, logged out users and non-users. That’s right, even if you have not signed up with the blue devil you are still being tracked.
They tested a variety of Android apps and found that at least 61 percent of them transfer data to Facebook the instant the user opens them. This holds true regardless of whether the user has a Facebook account, has opted out of receiving Facebook cookies or is logged onto Facebook. How much data is transferred and the nature of that data depends on the app. Some simply do a quick check in while others continue to send data as the app is used.
The data is transmitted through Facebook’s SDK (software developer kit) which allows a developer to create an app that interacts with Facebook. This cool tool also lets users login to an app using their Facebook ID. Spotify, Kayak, Duolingo, Indeed Job Search, Yelp and TripAdvisor were just some of the apps implicated. As you can see by the list, this problem is not limited to obscure hardly used apps. Many well known apps that you thought you could trust are actually spying on you.
What are you supposed to do with this information? Be aware that if you are using a web based application or smartphone app that gives you the option of logging in using your Facebook ID, your data may be sent to Facebook even if you don’t have an account. If you want to know how much of your data is being transferred, feel free to contact the developer and ask. With the new privacy regulations coming into effect across the globe, they may actually answer. Once you know what you are giving up, you can decide on whether the data lost is worth the convenience gained.