Your Facebook Data Is Creepy As Hell...

Authored by Georges Abi-Heila via,

Your Facebook data is creepy as hell... and why you should really have a look at it.

Since 2010, Facebook allows you to download an archive file of all your interactions with the network. It’s a 5-click easy process that your grandmother can do (more details below).

Inside the .zip, lies an ‘index.html’ page that acts as a portal to your personal data. Visually, it looks like an ad-free stripped down version of Facebook that’s actually quite relaxing.

As I’m trying to reduce my exposure to social networks, I decided to take a look at this info. By extrapolating the data of a single individual (me), I might be able to better apprehend the capabilities of the beast. In the end, it all comes down to what is tracked and what can be deduced from that.

We all gave up on privacy... we just don’t fully realise it.

Everything you expect is there: your profile, statuses, messages, friends, pokes (Tinder’s ancestor), photos, videos, comments, events. All of it in a 500mb zip file.

There’s a lot of material and you could sift it for hours. Most of the content is unsurprising but there are a few notable facts that are worth exploring.

Limitless data storage period

Quite simply, Facebook never deletes anything. Unfriended friends, past relationships, former employers, previous names, address book: you name it.

I created my account Friday, September 14, 2007 at 10:59am and all my actions have been recorded ever since. I feel that for the first time in history, 10 years of consistent human behavior have been meticulously gathered, stored & analysed.

Exhaustive photo metadata

Whenever you post a photo to Facebook, it keeps a record of all the data that’s attached to it. That seems quite obvious but I didn’t suspect it was so detailed. Have a look: Camera Maker, Model, Orientation, Exposure, F-Stop, ISO Speed, Focal Length, Latitude, Longitude & Upload IP Address

Abundant log-in & session data points

Every time you open Facebook, the time, location, IP address, browser & device have been recorded. If you’re part of the 1.4B people that use Facebook on a daily basis, they have enough data points to determine your everyday life patterns with great accuracy: home and work address, daily commute, wake up & bed time, travel duration & destination, etc.

Flawless facial recognition

Apparently, Facebook has 232 examples of what I look like.

How does it know? Well, every time you tag a photo, you’re adding to an enormous, user-driven wealth of knowledge and data. Everyday, billions of people are telling an algorithm what a human face looks like, from different angles, at different ages and in different light conditions.

The result? Facebook allegedly said that its image recognition models could recognise human faces with 98% accuracy & that it could identify a person in one picture out of 800 million in less than five seconds.

Detailed contact list

When you install Facebook’s app on your phone, you give it the right to see your contact list. Once that’s done, Facebook keeps ALL your contacts information forever.

There’s no sneaky move here: the opt-in process on your phone is actually pretty clear about that. But seeing the phone numbers, emails & addresses of everyone you know (or knew) listed on Facebook is a bit disturbing.

Get to know your advertiser... because he surely knows you.

Facebook main revenue source are ads served by their powerful targeting engine using custom audiences built for advertisers.

Apparently 21 advertisers got access to my Facebook information:

Playstation seems to like me a lot.

The thing is, Facebook’s been purposely mysterious about what type of information they share with third parties. Despite numerous requests by users throughout the world, their response is systematically:

Advertisers do not give Facebook any users’ contact details. We only get such details in hashed form and they are, in any event, deleted within 48 hours. We are therefore not able to confirm what contact information an advertiser has for a particular user.

But looking at Facebook Business platform provides some details about what info is used in custom audiences targeting: email, phone number, first name, last name, city, state, country, date of birth, age & gender.

So Facebook has a lot of data about you & it shares it with a lot of advertisers: but why should you care?

“Bring the world closer...” ... to ads.

I used to think there was no real drawback in ceding a lot of personal data to a 3rd party. After all, I get a free service that’s pleasant to use & really helpful.

Eventually, I realized that the harm potential really depends on 2 factors: the intentions & means of action of the organisation that harvests your data.

Harm potential = money * financial KPI’s — regulatory pressure.

That’s where Facebook gets really frightening: it’s hugely powerful & its only objective is to maximise the time spent & interactions made with its platform (just look at its financial KPI’s).

Don’t be fooled by the “bring the world closer together” motto: if Facebook’s here, it’s only to make money by selling ads. And to do that, they must target — in the most precise manner — the highest possible amount of eyeballs.

The thing is, do we really care?

*  *  *

How to get your data?

Starting with Facebook in 2010 and followed by Google and Twitter in 2011 and 2012, big social networks began allowing their users to download a backup file of everything they’ve ever posted.

To download your Facebook backup, just follow the 3 steps described here. Facebook will send you an email once your backup’s ready (it usually takes less than 10 minutes).

For a more holistic approach, check out It’s a web service that‘s helping individuals get a hold on their personal data. They’re doing an awesome job referencing data controllers & providing request templates filled with the correct wording & legal jargon. They then publish the requests & answers online so that everyone can appreciate corporate lawyers’ talent for complexifying exchanges & dodging questions.

Dig deeper

Most facts presented in this article are sourced from these reports & websites.
If you which to learn more or make your own opinion, I think they’re a good starting point.


balanced stizazz Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

It's not just Facebook, Apple and Google are doing the same thing. If you use a smart phone, they know everything. If your browser keeps you logged in to your gmail account, they know everything. If you aren't running TAILS (which uses TOR), they know everything.

In reply to by stizazz

CheapBastard balanced Tue, 02/13/2018 - 22:08 Permalink

'We can only take so much abuse': Whole Foods suppliers slam 'hellacious' new policies and say rising costs are hurting business


"They have pissed off their employees, they have pissed off customers, and they have pissed off their vendors," said a Whole Foods vendor of eight years who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. "From a financial perspective, we can only take so much abuse before we say this just isn't working for us anymore."…

In reply to by balanced

bluez Rex Andrus Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:41 Permalink

I do as much as I can to stay off "social" media. There's a neat Firefox add-on called "RefControl". Every time you click a link, the site that you go to from there knows what site you came from, because your browser secretly puts an invisible "referrer" string on your new site "request" that says where you came from.

So you can use "RefControl" to clip that right off. Or you can even "spoof" where you came from. For instance if you were to click a link here on ZH, or Google, it would inform the site you go to that you came from, say, a porn site. Yes, it works!

Here's a somewhat interesting movie about an Orwellian future when Google takes over:

The Circle Official Trailer 1

In reply to by Rex Andrus

ThanksChump stizazz Tue, 02/13/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

I'll catch flak, but people deserve this.


Everyone knows Facebook uses personal information for their gain. Everyone has known this for a long, long time. Ignorance is a choice. Complacency is a choice. This crap isn't possible in the absence of ignorant complacency in massive, lethal doses.


"The US has an opioid crisis." Bullshit, the US has a lazy stupidity crisis.

In reply to by stizazz

daddy's curly girl Lost in translation Wed, 02/14/2018 - 14:30 Permalink

... individuals caterwauling about data mining/spying activities followed by, “check us out on facebook!”

Not only that; there are more like "apply on Facebook", "like us on Facebook", and maybe other that I don't recall right now. I have called it sometimes 'by mistake' Fakebook. I was in a medical facility and was talking to a person there. That person said both with that that person's friend had established a society (consisting of two members only) called 'Never a Facebook member.' I was excited to join their society. 

(I am wittingly avoiding to use word, which can disclose anyone's gender here.)

In reply to by Lost in translation

allgoodmen ThanksChump Wed, 02/14/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

I would argue they don't know the depths of corporate surveillance and they are not to blame.

If FB Google Apple came out at the start and said "in order to use our service you will have to turn over EVERYTHING past present and future" there would have been less uptake.

Whether Google and the likes started do no evil and later said fuck it, or from the start wanted to do a boiling frog, the effect is the same. People were duped.

In reply to by ThanksChump

pigpen Rick Cerone Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:08 Permalink

Rick, I agree FU zuck. Mouth breathers if you cared about privacy then you would run all of your social media out of brave browser.

Brave blocks advertising malware and tracking by DEFAULT on any device and operating system rendering digital advertising model useless.

Zuck can't deliver advertising, you can't see advertising and can't be tracked across the web on brave.

Brave even blocks YouTube ads from browser and allows you to listen with screen off or while browsing other things.

Destroy the goobook digtal monopolies and the spying/tracking business model.



In reply to by Rick Cerone

allgoodmen divingengineer Wed, 02/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

You're on FB whethre you signed up or not. You are being tracked by FB whether you like it or not. There is no avoiding it any more.

In the article it mentions CONTACT LIST that your friends turned over. Are you on their phones contact lists or do they type in your number every time they want to call you.

I'm sure your friends never post your photo but I and most others are not so lucky. We are in the Facial Recognition Facebook Database.

Furthermore, FB tracks every move people make across the web. Whether you signed up or not you have a device ID. It helps to block FB cookies and delete Adobe Flash, but the information they already have, they will not delete.

In reply to by divingengineer

pigpen takeaction Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:54 Permalink

Take action, glad you love brave. It is a gem. Please let everybody in your social circle know about brave. It is so easy and set it and forget it. He who controls the browser controls there money. If goobook will sell my data and not give me a cut then I'm going out of my way to hurt their business, 1 person at time.



In reply to by takeaction

khnum Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:57 Permalink

Saw a you tube video where they talked to the bot Louise Cypher when 5g comes on apparently if you destroy your mobile or any part of the network AI will kill you,now either this AI has a warped sense of humour or one day our silly toys will be a life or death decision perhaps.

Bryan Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:12 Permalink

No kidding, people.  What the hell did you think they would do with all that personal information you have been happily volunteering for over a decade?

Lorca's Novena Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:13 Permalink

(((facebook)))  well no shit shirlock.

As long as nobody figures you out, your doing fine.  Then again, wasnt new legislation passed about citizens THEY CANT CONTROL?


Fuck this shit

NoWayJose Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:16 Permalink

Don’t have a FB account - never have, never will.  Don’t have a iTunes account or Apple ID.  Don’t use Google.

They still try to track me - but I never enter my name, address or phone number on the Internet - so they cannot link anything to me.  (But they do try to link to my ISP and try to get to my wireless router).

dwboston Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:23 Permalink

Back in the 90's Bill Gates wrote a book.  He had this idea (before ubiquitous consumer adoption of the internet) that people would have a "documented life".  His vision was actually pretty quaint - people would wear some sort of button-like recording device that would record their daily life.  He couldn't foresee the total Orwellian surveillance state that the internet would become, and how people would give up every detail of their lives willingly, just to see the inane musings and photos of their "friends".   Bill Gates' biggest sin was bundling Windows 95 with a web browser (and giving the world Steve Ballmer).  Zuckerberg is evil fucking incarnate.

MusicIsYou Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:24 Permalink

I'm not worried about it, because 99.99% of people are going to be going away soon. You folks don't really think you'll be going away soon do you? That's like the way you keep whining about your country going bankrupt, and yet you won't do anything about it. But the thing is that something is getting done about it - your country's going bankrupt. People are much dumber today than any time in history so it doesn't surprise me at what machines people accept as being defined as Artificial Intelligence.

Nelbev Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:35 Permalink

Facebook and Google servers have been plugged into NSA for years by contract.  This was a way to get around the Fourth Amendment as people voluntarily give their private info and since Americans lack the IQ to actually read the small print privacy disclosures and click "yes" so they can get to the Youtube videos or post useless social net working crap like pictures of their cat pretending someone cares, very similar to Zerohedge.

itstippy Tue, 02/13/2018 - 21:37 Permalink

I don't use Facebook, but Mrs. Tippy does and has for years.  By now Mr. Zuckerberg and his partners at the NSA have about 10 billion pictures of our cats on file.  They know that Ringo plays with string, and Ladybug likes to sprawl in sunbeams.  Now you know too.

What an unbelievable waste of time and resources for all involved.  The powers-that-be don't give a flying fuck about my opinions on economic matters, but they catagorize and store Mrs. Tippy's endless cute kitty pictures and recipes for low-cal meatloaf.

helloimjohnnycat Tue, 02/13/2018 - 22:03 Permalink

Every down vote I receive for slamming jooz represents a ZH troller choking on their hourly mouthful of comrade Zuckerberg's infected cum.

Zuckerberg is nothing but the ugly, zitted-face twerp chosen by deep staters to represent their peeping-Tomunism.

The whole scheme called facebook proves that jooz are classless pieces of biped filth. Can't blame the moronic, low-IQ sheeple. They're weak, and always sell-out on the cheap & easy.

A classless, opportunistic joo-fuckkbooker should start selling OD-green cans of cum-rations labeled mark'z tequila-flavored cum. A plastic Mark Z zitted-face worm included in each can.

Advertise there's one 18K gold mark'z each month and Hello Excess Suck-cess !

But wait, we've only just begun, cuz there's more : A few of you have already guessed it....Every 90 days one lucky mark'z tequila-flavored cum-guzzlin' cum buyer will be chosen from our secret stash of secretion sales records and awarded one-tenth of one suck-coin. We already know the winner and hope you will, too.





Versengetorix Tue, 02/13/2018 - 22:14 Permalink

The key thing to remember is that he stole the idea from the Winklevoss brothers, who were still trying to raise capital.  After Mark's theft a Jewish president at Harvard shut down the Winklevosses while Mark easily got moneyed up with his tribal brothers on Wall Street. Initiates like this , at least in the last 25 years, only have a chance at major funding if they are in Jewish hands.

MuffDiver69 Tue, 02/13/2018 - 22:38 Permalink

Seems a backlash is brewing finally...We’ve heard just about everyone involved in creating the current social media environment talk it down recently. Makes you chuckle about the warnings about social security numbers back in the day