Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings left a lot of questions unanswered. The Product Management Director of Facebook, David Baser, went online to answer some of the questions his CEO was unable to provide in the recent hearings. His post revolves around the data the company receives when people are not logged in or even when they don’t have a Facebook account.
Baser was unambiguous when it came to the data collected of those not logged in or without an account: “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.”
This means that every time a Facebook user, even if they are not logged in, clicks the “Like” button on a website, they are under Facebook’s scrutiny. The platform receives their IP address, browser, OS fingerprint, and the accessed site.
Non-users are tracked in a different way. Three years ago, Facebook claimed it had focused only on the interactions between users and non-users. Now, things appear to be drastically different.
The Facebook Audience Network “enables other websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether the person uses Facebook. If they don’t, we can show an ad encouraging them to sign up for Facebook. If they do, we’ll show them ads from the same advertisers that are targeting them on Facebook.”
Either way, the social network knows critical information about you. Facebook says it’s not sharing that personal data with advertisers but the company is giving them stats about the number of people accessing their ad: “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.”
The company is not giving us a way out of all ads and only points out a way to set your Ad preferences to prevent certain advertisers from reaching you or to block Facebook ads based on interests.