"Want To Freak Yourself Out?" Here Is All The Personal Data That Facebook/Google Collect

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was never really about Cambridge Analytica.

As we've pointed out, neither Facebook nor Cambridge Analytica have been accused of doing anything explicitly illegal (though one could be forgiven for believing they had, based on the number of lawsuits and official investigations that have been announced).

Instead, the backlash to these revelations - which has been justifiably focused on Facebook - is so severe because the public has been forced to confront for the first time something that many had previously written off as an immutable certainty: That Facebook, Google and the rest of the tech behemoths store reams of personal data, essentially logging everything we do.

In response to demands for more transparency surrounding user data, Facebook and Google are offering users the option to view all of the metadata that Google and Facebook collect.

And as Twitter user Dylan Curran pointed out in a comprehensive twitter thread examining his own data cache, the extent and bulk of the data collected and sorted by both companies is staggering.

Google, Curran said, collected 5.5 gigabytes of data on him - equivalent to some 3 million Microsoft Word documents. Facebook, meanwhile, collected only 600 megabytes - equivalent to roughly 400,000 documents.

Another shocking revelation made by Curran: Even after deleting data like search history and revoking permissions for Google and Facebook applications, Curran still found a comprehensive log of his documents and other files stored on Google drive, his search history, chat logs and other sensitive data about his movements that he had expressly deleted.

What's worse, everything shown is the data cache of one individual. Just imagine how much data these companies hold in total.

























































Google even saves a log of every log a user has ever viewed or clicked on, every app they've every opened and every image they've every searched for - and every news article they've ever read.







Curran, who joked that he's "probably on an FBI watchlist" following his twitter thread, explained that the data he highlighted - while some of it might seem obscure - could have thousands of potentially compromising applications, including blackmailing a rival or spying on a spouse.







The question now is: Will this transparency actually change user's behavior? Or will Facebook's hollow promises to change be enough to lull its legions of users back into a passive ignorance. As Curran points out, people would be outraged if they discovered the government was monitoring them to this extent. But when Google does it? People hardly bat an eye.


CaptainMoonlight Tue, 03/27/2018 - 13:11 Permalink

Pitchforks out for Zuck.


Honestly though, aside from a well deserved arresting of Zuck and dragging him through the streets for treason, you people using FB have only yourselves to blame if this privacy-attack thing of Facebook's is a surprise to you. It's like suing a cigarette company for the holes in your cheeks and throat. 


OK, final edit: I should not have said "you people", I should have said "those people", since most of you ZHers are probably way too smart to have ever been on FB. 

macholatte Hippocratic Oaf Tue, 03/27/2018 - 13:29 Permalink


Isn’t selling advertising their business model?
Don’t they collect personal data so they can target market advertising?
Don’t they bury “opt-in consent” deep inside their user agreements that nobody reads?
Haven’t they published their methods which have been known for years?
Why is all this such a surprise?

Oh! I get it now.
All that was perfectly fine until Trump became POTUS.

It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.
- Joseph Goebbels


In reply to by Hippocratic Oaf

Automatic Choke Leakanthrophy Tue, 03/27/2018 - 14:52 Permalink

All right - I'm gonna fess up....I use facebook.    I know we all bash on it, and everybody here claims to have never used it, but probably half of you are lying.   I have never loaded the facebook ap on my android, and don't play games.   (I also don't post pictures of my breakfast....I use it for a few very good groups that share information about hiking and such, and I post a lot of photos of my hikes, sort of like in the old days when you'd invite friends over to show slides).


I downloaded the info zipfile.    Yes, it was huge, yes it had every photo and every comment I've ever made on facebook, and yes, they even stored all the messages I send and receive through facebook.    But so what, I wasn't surprised by that....   No, they did not have records of my phone calls or phone-text-messages, or any other information that I hadn't given them.   So - if you are judicious in what you share, and expect that everything you put on line is fully public (in spite of promises), you are likely ok.



Wow - even split on up/down votes.  I didn't think I actually said anything controversial, not sure what the downvotes are for....

I'll add a bit more.    In my opinion, facebook is like a fairly boring 24/7 cocktail party.   Everybody is jabbering and only half-aware, and it goes on far too long.   The best thing to do in a cocktail party is to find somebody who i've been wanting to talk to anyhow, and sit and talk with them.  Facebook can serve the same purpose.    ALSO - I avoid all the political ranting on facebook....I find it to be inappropriate...leave that for...er...zerohedge.   My daddy taught me long ago that you don't discuss religion or politics at a cocktail party, and he was right, so I don't discuss either on facebook.


In reply to by Leakanthrophy

Creative_Destruct Tarzan Tue, 03/27/2018 - 22:18 Permalink

All this such a surprise? NO. Shouldn't be.  It's part of their business model and has been since inception. It's been staring everyone in the face all along.

Most of the sheeple have played right into it. I can remember when a typical American's attitude toward attempts to get even the most benign personal info was "none of your damn business." Now everyone shares all of their private lives in massive public view, hoping for a "hit" of attention to satisfy cravings brought on by their Social Validation Addiction.

In reply to by Tarzan

Crawdaddy Tarzan Tue, 03/27/2018 - 22:34 Permalink

zactly - same goes for the rest of the social media top dogs which are really just shadow guv front companies. That is how they got to be top dogs - playin ball with da man.

Da Man: "You job is to be our front man and we'll fund you until we bust our all the legit competition. Then we'll tell our 98% owned media to endlessly tout you as a genius. "

Da bitches : "Der...Ok"

Proof? All those "titans" of industry that magically survived years of burning cash somehow managed to avoid "the hidden hand of the market." Now the fuckers stand atop the "capitalist" system and lecture us about how to run a company. Yeah right. Fuckem. 

In reply to by Tarzan

Yogizuna Delving Eye Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:10 Permalink

It can help people though. For example, when my friends go through the passing of a loved one, human or pet, the feedback can help ease the pain, and I have seen that numerous times in the last 8 years. Since 2010 I have had 6 pets pass away, and "spilling my guts" and getting feedback did help ease the pain. So there are positive aspects to it also. And like with most things in life, moderate usage is best. 

In reply to by Delving Eye

Eyes Opened Delving Eye Wed, 03/28/2018 - 04:40 Permalink

"Why the fuck anybody is on Facebook is beyond me. I value my privacy, which is why I use an avatar and phony name for my relatively small online footprint."


Dude... don't u get it ??  Its not just fakebook or twatter.... its EVERY DIGITAL COMMUNICATION YOU EVER MADE / RECIEVED !!! 



Every phone call...

Every text & sms...

Every photo u take...

Every email...

Every single byte in & out , regardless of platform... all our ZH posts...

An avatar & a phony name isn't gonna do jack-shit for your privacy....


In reply to by Delving Eye

mccvilb Eyes Opened Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:00 Permalink

If Windows 10 didn't wake everyone up I figured nothing ever would. Remember their "free downloads" along with their 45 pages of opt outs they attached to the W10 terms of use at the very end??!! 

Along with the W10 D/L I quickly discovered Microsoft co-opted my laptop web cam and Dell had cooperated by now calling it the Microsoft web cam in my Dell computer. Wha?? It had been Logitech. It became pretty obvious when it stopped working and I went crazy trying to update the drivers.

I wouldn't allow any piece of the W10 Microsoft "store" to establish roots and suddenly half of my computer's functionality was turned off. I was taking courses at MIT and needed the cam to verify it was me for online test verification purposes.

That was it for me and W10. I went back to Windows 7. I now keep a Linux laptop loaded and ready to go, not that it will resolve anything. We are basically fucked in perpetuity thanks to Gates.

In reply to by Eyes Opened

RabbitOne californiagirl Tue, 03/27/2018 - 21:29 Permalink

Facebook is Santa Claus!

It sees you when you're sleeping,
It knows when you're awake
It set you up to be data-mined
And it knows just what to take!

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why…
Zuckerberg will harvest your town!

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So jail Zuck ‘fore it’s too late!

In reply to by californiagirl

Spitball Automatic Choke Tue, 03/27/2018 - 15:31 Permalink

Used the wife"s account a couple of times for the marketplace part of it. As for anything else, NO I don't have an account, nor plan on every making one.

Google, that's a different story. Used it quite extensively, although I'm starting to move away from it slowly. 

As far as search engines, google is king. DuckDuckGo.com is my alternative with Firefox as the browser.

Need to ditch Microsoft operating system soon also. Something about giving away Windows 10 felt like Microsoft's in bed with government spying. The automatic updates blow.

In reply to by Automatic Choke

HilbertSpace Spitball Tue, 03/27/2018 - 16:42 Permalink

I second your comments. I've never used Facebook, but Google has invaded everything. I'm working on getting de-googled, particularly after their recent youtube BS, but that is a tough. In some cases the alternatives are good. Protonmail is excellent and affordable. Signal is a great messenger app. Opera with scriptsafe and ghostery works well. On a home PC you can use install a good linux distro in a virtual PC and browse through a VPN (Torguard takes crypto as does Primary Internet Access). But I'm still using gdrive (gestapo drive as I like to call all google stuff) because alternatives aren't as good and probably have the same privacy issues.


The real problem is with the smartphone. Unless you are going to go flip phone, you are freaking screwed. Those things suck up your whole life, and if you have an android phone, google play services is basically big brothering all your apps. I'd be highly surprised if our phones aren't logging EVERYTHING that is typed into the virtual keyboard. 

In reply to by Spitball

Laowei Gweilo Automatic Choke Tue, 03/27/2018 - 16:13 Permalink

pretty much. 

i used it, and I'm OK with the risk of this. it's a free website that needs to make money.

use it at your own risk. (e.g. have never used my real name associated with any of those accounts; I never use them to instant message; I have a rule that I never ever use an 'app within an app' if an app interests me I'll download the direct .exe for a different laptop or device (that doesn't have any Google or FB account on it). other small things, that -- sure i'm sure they probably suspect my name and track some info -- but it's mostly pointless shit. especially no app or chat histories tho.

the real idiots are the people mad about this. not Zuck. of course Zuck is gonna Zuck or Google is gonna Google.


p.s. the fact that Twitter thread is 'news' (despite being known for years) shows just how blind and stupid people are.

p.s.s. and to be fair there are some benefits to some of those features. the geo-location stuff can be nefarious, but it also makes searching for local businesses a lot easier, and provides security (e.g. it's helpful that Google knows you always log-in from a certain State cuz then it can block a log-in attempt from Nigeria). again. not saying it's WORTH IT (Don't like it, don't use it) but there is a practical reason for it too.

In reply to by Automatic Choke

GeoffreyT Automatic Choke Tue, 03/27/2018 - 16:49 Permalink

You are ignoring the venality of the sorts of people who will attempt to exploit this information (governments, insurers, real estate agents, HR fucktards - the whole shebang of parasites and ticket-clippers... who are almost entirely made up of C-students).

And you're ignoring Richelieu's maxim:

Give me six lines written by the most honest man: in them, I will find something with which to hang him


In reply to by Automatic Choke

Flatchestynerdette Automatic Choke Tue, 03/27/2018 - 22:46 Permalink

I still have my flip phone so I can't received texts, can't google to find anything & have to call 411 to get a number.

I too have Facebook but its on an old windows 7 computer that I also go to just for a group, similar to you but I've never posted a personal picture.

As for Google? It will go out of business selling your information before it never sells your information & then the government will come in and declare Google too big to fail with all that info & sweep it into the NSA late one Friday night while everyone is watching a version of Stormy & her 2 sisters


In reply to by Automatic Choke