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Facebook Reveals How They Compile Detailed Dossiers by Tracking Your Every Move Online

One of the major new disclosures we've heard in recent days is that Facebook tracks and accumulates data from even those who don’t sign up for the service.

Facebook has just posted an article in its newsroom that provides a more detailed description of what it does. You can check out the page at the link, but like most Facebook communications, it’s filled with superfluous information and diversions rather than clarity. I decided to highlight some of the items in this announcement to make it easier to understand:

Facebook content is in italics, my comments are non-italics.

Hard Questions: What Data Does Facebook Collect When I’m Not Using Facebook, and Why?

Hard Questions is a series from Facebook that addresses the impact of our products on society.

 By David Baser, Product Management Director

When does Facebook get data about people from other websites and apps?

Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant.

Stop! They do it because they get paid to collect information about us to provide to advertisers to better target us. That’s what they mean by making ads more engaging. But in doing so, they are adding to their dossier about us.

These services include:  Social plugins, such as our Like and Share buttons, which make other sites more social and help you share content on Facebook;

If I’m not a member of Facebook, why would I want this? It doesn't matter. They do this for everyone.

Facebook Login, which lets you use your Facebook account to log into another website or app;

Facebook Analytics, which helps websites and apps better understand how people use their services; 

Logging into a site using Facebook is one of the least private things you can do. Once you do, the site may be able to get access to all of your Facebook activities and profile if you belong to Facebook. And in return,  you’ve told Facebook where you're spending time on the Web and disclosing what new interests you have, even if you’re not a Facebook member. The result is that you're helping Facebook build a profile of yourself.

When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook.

Read that carefully. Facebook confirms that they treat you much like any member that has provided permission to be tracked. But not being a member means you’ve never given them permission, never been told what they are doing -- and Facebook is taking your information without permission.