When you create an account with Facebook, you are required to read over and sign their privacy/data policy. I choose to look into Facebook because they have come under fire before regarding their privacy policy. During the 2016 Presidential Election, Facebook allowed for Cambridge Analytica (a third party ad company) to have access to people’s personal information in order to sway political views.

The Cambridge Analytica Scandal rocked the social media world in 2016. The company harvested data from millions of Facebook users through personality quizzes. This is the biggest data breach known to date for Facebook. They used this data to create “fake news” to skew the political views of users. There has been evidence shown that these “fake news” ads could have altered the results of the election.

Since 2016, Facebook has altered its privacy policy to further protect their users. One of the biggest changes they have made was to allow most users to opt out of ad-sensing, which makes it way easier to see how much of your information is visible to advertisers.

So what is a part of Facebook’s Privacy Policy? They collect all the data you provide (including profile information, pictures, and posts), data from your network (pages and hashtags you follow, people that you’re connected with) and how much you use your device. Facebook can analyze photo’s metadata to suggest photo locations and can also use your camera data to help suggest filters to use. They use your content and your network’s content to help suggest ads or posts that you may enjoy. They also take data from your device such as device attributes, operations, settings, networks, and cookie data. They collect data from phones, tablets, computers, TVs and any other device you use Facebook products on. This way, they can seamlessly integrate your data wherever you’re using Facebook products. This is why, even if you were searching something up on your laptop, ads related to it will pop up on your mobile device. Facebook Business Tools also receives information from Facebook partners if you’ve been using their apps or on their site. This is also used for ad targeting and to make sure that they are customizing your product experience as much as possible.

Overall, they use all of your data to personalize and improve your experience using their products, measure analytics, communicate and research social issues.

Who do they share your data with? Well, since 2016 Facebook has made some changes to this part of the policy. They have given more control to the user. They share your data with those users you have set it to be shared with (Close Friends, Friends, Friends with Friends, etc.) and of course, with Facebook partners. Their third-party developers can see when you are using Facebook products, and if you give them permission, they can have access to your profile data. Much like when you sign into an app using Facebook, you are granting them access to your information. But now, if you have been inactive on a third-party app for more than three months, Facebook takes away their access to your information.

When you delete your account, Facebook deletes your data. Any information you posted is erased. They cannot take down any content that you’ve been tagged in, but they do delete any content that is yours. Facebook also deletes any data after they deem it “unnecessary”. This means that after 6 months, any search you conduct in the query will be deleted or any government-issued ID used to verify your account will be deleted after 30 days.

Facebook has come a long way with their privacy policy since 2016 and they continue to improve it every day by trying to further protect their users by having more transparent policies.

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