Updated: March 5, 2021
Startling disclosures by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, made on Tuesday and Wednesday, have exposed what many people had feared, that Facebook has become the world’s biggest and most dangerous spy agency, harvesting the private data of billions of people around the world, selling or sharing them with third party applications’ developers, foreign agents, dictatorial regimes, law enforcement agencies, and using them to make hundreds of billions of dollars in ads.
Mr. Zuckerberg told the United States Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee on Tuesday and the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday that Facebook tracks virtually everything on the users’ devices, including when they are offline.
The world’s biggest social media network CEO also admitted that Facebook has collected data from billions of people who have never even signed onto Facebook.
Called Facebook Data Collection (center), Mr. Zuckerberg admitted that the personal information of people, including those not on Facebook, is collected for “security purposes”.
Facebook, he also admitted, also tracks what users do all over the Internet. For instance, a user with an Android phone, may be looking for an item to buy on eBay or Amazon, minutes after, Facebook would display similar ads to the user, even though the user did not make any related search on Facebook.
Lawmakers also challenged him to explain why Facebook might be picking conversations that take place near a device. For instance, if a user’s phone is switched on while they are discussing buying a laptop, minutes after, when they log onto Facebook, they may be surprised that Facebook would be displaying a similar ad on laptops, even though the users did not search for it, typed it on the Internet or liked such pages on Facebook.
The revelations that Facebook tracks what users do on their devices, even when not on Facebook, and stores all their activities, including medical information, relationship related information, locations, and the rest, have left many people stunned.
Facebook, he also admitted, also read text messages of users, also for “security reasons”. This means that a user may be sending a text message to their spouse, unknown to them, because they have installed Facebook app on their device, Facebook may be reading their private information.
Mr. Zuckerberg was invited by the lawmakers following a privacy breach by Cambridge Analytica, the data-mining company with links to U.S. President, Donald Trump.
Facebook CEO admitted that it shares the private information of users with third party apps developers as well as law enforcement officers, including those in autocratic regimes such as Russia and China.
With these revelations regarding Facebook tracking everything being done on the users’ devices, Facebook has betrayed billions of people around the world, and can now be considered as the world’s biggest and most effective spy agency.
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