facebookappWhen Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress last week about the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, he was asked a question about what kind of data Facebook collects from people when they use various apps and websites that have Facebook tools and integrations installed.

Zuckerberg promised to share more information on that topic at a later time, and today Facebook made good on that promise with a detailed article on what data Facebook gets from third-party apps and websites.

Facebook has several plug-ins and tools that allow Facebook to gather data on users even when they're not using Facebook, including social plugins (Like and Share buttons), Facebook login (which lets you log in to services with a Facebook account), Facebook Analytics, and Facebook ads (allows apps and websites to show ads from Facebook advertisers, run ads on Facebook, and measure ad effectiveness).

Facebook says that whenever you use an app or a website that has one of these tools installed, the company receives information even if you're logged out of Facebook or do not have a Facebook account.

According to Facebook, the information collected offline is used to "make [app and website] ads better," with Facebook receiving data that includes IP address, browser, operating system, cookie information, and which app or website you're using, all of which is common information collected when you use an app or a website.

Facebook provides detailed information on how the data collected from each of these tools is used:

  • Social plugins and Facebook Login. We use your IP address, browser/operating system information, and the address of the website or app you're using to make these features work. For example, knowing your IP address allows us to send the Like button to your browser and helps us show it in your language. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether you're logged in, which makes it easier to share content or use Facebook to log into another app.
  • Facebook Analytics. Facebook Analytics gives websites and apps data about how they are used. IP addresses help us list the countries where people are using an app. Browser and operating system information enable us to give developers information about the platforms people use to access their app. Cookies and other identifiers help us count the number of unique visitors. Cookies also help us recognize which visitors are Facebook users so we can provide aggregated demographic information, like age and gender, about the people using the app.
  • Ads. Facebook Audience Network enables other websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers. When we get a request to show an Audience Network ad, we need to know where to send it and the browser and operating system a person is using. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether the person uses Facebook. If they do, we can use the fact that they visited a business's site or app to show them an ad from that business - or a similar one -- back on Facebook. If they don't, we can show an ad encouraging them to sign up for Facebook.
  • Ad Measurement. An advertiser can choose to add the Facebook Pixel, some computer code, to their site. This allows us to give advertisers stats about how many people are responding to their ads -- even if they saw the ad on a different device -- without us sharing anyone's personal information.

App and website usage habits are also used to determine the content and ads that are shown on Facebook. A person who visits a lot of sports related sites, for example, will see more sports-related news stories and ads.

To control what data Facebook is collecting, the company directs users to its News Feed preferences and Ad preferences to remove unwanted advertisers and opt out of certain types of ads. You can disable the feature that lets Facebook provide targeted ads based on your browsing habits, and you can disable the option that lets other apps and websites use your Facebook interests to provide ads.

Facebook says that it will address additional questions that were raised during Zuckerberg's testimony in future posts.

Top Rated Comments

mysterydate Avatar
43 months ago
I'll wait while Mark explains how people with no accounts can opt out of collection, like he said.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bladerunner2000 Avatar
43 months ago
For those still wanting to use Facebook install the following plugins (click on names for links):

Ghostery ('https://www.ghostery.com/') (blocks ads, scripts, trackers, etc)
AdBlock ('https://getadblock.com/') (blocks ads only)
Adnauseam ('https://adnauseam.io/') (this one actually clicks ALL ads and screws with ad results, a total PITA for ad servers!)
uBlock ('https://www.ublock.org/')
PrivacyBadger ('https://www.eff.org/privacybadger') (blocks trackers, etc)
Facebook Container ('https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/facebook-container/') (for Firefox)

For browsers, I recommend Brave ('https://brave.com/') which is also available for iOS and Android.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
loby Avatar
43 months ago
Deleted my Facebook years ago because I didn’t want them with my data and now they are getting it anyway? Is this legal?
It does not matter if you delete your account. It is not deleted in their system and servers. You can tell if you want to activate or log in again with your old email and password. It just reactivates it again. I did this years ago and deleted my account. Then...I tried a few years later to activate my account again and ‘bing’ it went back to my old account with all of the information.

They don’t delete anything. They are data collectors.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nwcs Avatar
43 months ago
I'll wait while Mark explains how people with no accounts can opt out of collection, like he said.
Exactly. I deleted my fb account 5 years ago and I don’t want them tracking me at all. That’s one reason I like the prevent cross site tracking options in Safari even if it interrupts things.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
magicschoolbus Avatar
43 months ago
Deleted my Facebook years ago because I didn’t want them with my data and now they are getting it anyway? Is this legal?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BWhaler Avatar
43 months ago
Just when you think a company can’t be grosser than Uber or Theranos, Facebook’s half truths promise to steal the throne.

Zuck and Cheryl Sanberg know what they did. For shame.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....