That the problem of the protection of privacy is on the agenda, especially with regards to the use of social networks, has unfortunately been an established fact for some time, however the data from a recent research conducted on Facebook shows a situation that is even worse than one might have expected.
According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports in collaboration with The Markup, entitled “Who shares your information with Facebook?”, we wanted to delve deeper into the problem of the obscure user tracking activity that takes place on the famous Meta social network by third parties. This enormous amount of information about us then flows into the database that the group can use. Here therefore the motivation behind the question that is the title of the study carried out by Consumer Reports: “Who shares your information with Facebook?”
Well, the investigation revealed that there are several thousand companies that capture the sensitive data of each user: in order to reach such a conclusion, the historical archive of 709 research participants was analysed, considering to be precise the last three years of online activity. These 709 volunteers“shared archives of their Facebook data”discovering “that a total of 186,892 companies have sent data about themselves to the social network.”
From this emerged an intense activity of covert tracking, called “server-to-server tracking”, during which users’ personal data passes from the servers of various companies and then returns to those of Meta. The numbers of the study speak clearly: the data of a single user ends up in the hands of 2,230 companies on average. In essence, therefore, Facebook receives information about a user on average from around 2,230 companies, and in one extreme case, they have even been “almost 48,000 different companies” to provide this information to the platform. Even if the sample examined is not large, and if it concerns only US citizens, it is still a clear signal that cannot be ignored in order to understand how serious and complex the problem of protecting privacy on the internet and on websites is. social media specifically.
“We offer a variety of transparency tools to help people understand the information companies choose to share with us and manage how it is used”Meta spokesperson Emil Vazquez was keen to reply after the publication of the study.
An answer that evidently did not convince the authors of the investigation, certain that this transparency is not so evident. According to the study, among the companies that are most involved in collecting and transmitting such information are the data broker, such as LiveRamp, a San Francisco-based company that appeared in 96% of the cases examined. Among the others most present in the study there are some giants of the caliber of The Home Depot, Walmart, Macy’s, Amazon, Etsi and Paypal. Not just the “big” ones, given that in 10% of cases a car dealership located in a small town in Texas also appeared.