Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, went to Capitol Hill this week to explain to members of Congress how the detailed personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users ended up in the hands of a voter-profiling company called Cambridge Analytica.
What Mr. Zuckerberg got instead, as he testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, was a grilling about Facebook’s own data-mining practices.
Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, for one, wanted to know about Facebook’s use of different types of tracking software to follow consumers’ activities on millions of non-Facebook sites all over the web.
“It doesn’t matter whether you have a Facebook account,” Ms. Dingell said to Mr. Zuckerberg. “Through those tools, Facebook is able to collect information from all of us.”
Facebook meticulously scrutinizes the minutiae of its users’ online lives, and its tracking stretches far beyond the company’s well-known targeted advertisements. Details that people often readily volunteer — age, employer, relationship status, likes and location — are just the start.
Facebook tracks both its users and nonusers on other sites and apps. It collects biometric facial data without users’ explicit “opt-in” consent. [Continue reading…]
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