Facebook Outlines What Data it Collects From Other Apps and Websites

by

When 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

(View all)
Avatar
33 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)
Avatar
33 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)
Avatar
33 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)
Avatar
33 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)
Avatar
33 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)
Avatar
33 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

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...