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
54 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
54 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
54 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
54 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
54 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
54 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)

Popular Stories

apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...