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Social Media Roundup: Facebook External Tracking, Instagram Explore Redesign, New Snapchat Filters

Specifically, Facebook will ask users whether they want to continue sharing political, religious and relationship data from their profile. And Facebook will make it easier for users to delete profile information. Another requirement for the GDPR that The Verge pointed out Facebook is complying with is that European users will see the contact details for its Data Protection Officer.

Facebook is also bringing facial recognition back to Europe and Canada as an opt-in feature. “Our face recognition features help protect your privacy and improve your experiences, like detecting when others might be attempting to use your image as their profile picture and allowing us to suggest friends you may want to tag in photos or videos. We’ve offered products using face recognition in most of the world for more than six years. As part of this update, we’re now giving people in the EU and Canada the choice to turn on face recognition. Using face recognition is entirely optional for anyone on Facebook,” said the company in a blog post.

Facebook is also going to ask users whether they want to review and choose whether or not they want the social network to use data from partners for deciding what types of ads to show. “Facebook is an advertising-supported service,” said Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman in a press briefing via Reuters. “All ads on Facebook are targeted to some extent, and that’s true for offline advertising, as well.”

However, Facebook told Reuters in a separate report that it will not be extending the GDPR laws worldwide. This means that Facebook’s 1.5 billion users in Asia, Africa, Australia and Latin America will not have the same levels of protection as the 28 countries in the EU.

External Tracking

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had testified in front of Congress where he was asked over 500 questions. And he said that he would get back on about 40 questions. One of those questions was about whether Facebook tracks users even if they are logged out.

In a blog post, Facebook acknowledged it has ways of tracking data about people even if they don’t have an account or if users are logged out. Many external websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging. The services include social plugins (Like and Share buttons), Facebook Login (ability to log into a website or app with a Facebook account), Facebook Analytics (helps websites and apps better understand how people use their services) and Facebook ads and measurement tools (enables websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers).

“When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook,” wrote Facebook’s Product Management Director David Baser. “Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them. Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all have similar Like and Share buttons to help people share things on their services. Google has a popular analytics service. And Amazon, Google and Twitter all offer login features. These companies — and many others — also offer advertising services. In fact, most websites and apps send the same information to multiple companies each time you visit them.”

Specifically, when you visit a website, your browser will send a request to the site’s server and shares your IP address so the website knows where on the Internet to send the site content.

The website also gathers information about the browser and operating system that you are using because not all browsers and devices support the same feature. Plus the website also gets cookies, which uses identifiers that websites use to find out if you have visited before. This helps with features liked saved items in shopping carts.

Websites typically send two things back to your browser, which is content from that site and instructions for the browser to send your request to other companies providing content on the site.

And when a website uses one of Facebook’s services, your browser “sends the same kinds of information to Facebook as the website receives.” Facebook also gets information about which website or app that you are using, which is required to know when to provide its tools. This is similar to how YouTube provides a video on an external website.

Facial Recognition Class Action Lawsuit

This past week, U.S. District Judge James Donato ruled in a San Francisco federal court that Facebook will have to face a class action lawsuit that alleges the company unlawfully used facial recognition without user permission reported Reuters. Facebook said it continues to believe “the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously.”

could represent millions of others in the state. The lawsuit is seeking $5,000 for each instance of facial recognition being used without permission — which could hypothetically cost billions of dollars. The plaintiffs allege that Facebook is breaking an Illinois state law that prohibits the collection of biometric data without written consent, which is known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Another Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Releases A Statement

In a written statement, former Cambridge Analytica business director Brittany Kaiser revealed another vulnerability in an app that connected to Facebook. Kaiser told British lawmakers that an app called “Sex Compass” and several other quizzes including the controversial “This Is Your Digital Life” app actually exploited over 87 million users.

“I am aware in a general sense of a wide range of surveys which were done by CA or its partners, usually with a Facebook login – for example, the ‘sex compass’ quiz. I do not know the specifics of these surveys or how the data was acquired or processed. But I believe it is almost certain that the number of Facebook users whose data was compromised through routes similar to that used by Kogan is much greater than 87 million; and that both Cambridge Analytica and other unconnected companies and campaigns were involved in these activities,” wrote Kaiser in her statement.

However, a Cambridge Analytica spokesperson told Business Insider that it collected data through “legitimate means” and on a “much smaller scale” than Kaiser suggested. The spokesperson told Business Insider that only their public profile information was collected after consenting to the quizzes.


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