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Not on Facebook? You are, you just don’t know it

Not on Facebook? You are, you just don’t know it

As the number of big-name marques hit by data theft grows by the day – I have been in the mix twice this month alone, thank you Vodafone and TalkTalk – it might be tempting to think that staying off social networks like Facebook is a sensible step towards personal data privacy. Not so much.

If you are one of the few hold-outs on FB, you might also think they know nothing about you, but you would be very, very wrong.

Even if you have never created an account, FB’s algorithms mean that they have what it calls ‘shadow profiles’ or ghost accounts.

How it works is this… your boss keeps your home phone, address and date of birth in her phone or desktop contacts, which as a user of FB she has chosen to give the platform total access to. Most of us do it without thinking and usually the net result for the user is those ‘helpful’ friend suggestions that appear on your feed.

“you might think they know nothing about you, but you would be very, very wrong”

The clever bit of FB’s inner workings is that it matches and collated the snippets of data from all of your ‘friends’ – so while one pal may have your home phone, another may have your mobile. FB will then store and match it up, adding it to your shadow profile.

Is there anything you can do about staying off the grid? Information security analysts believe not – if only because of the amount of times in any day we log into apps, platforms, shopping sites that require breadcrumbs of our identity. FB aren’t the only wants mining your data and there are many out there doing it for very nefarious reasons.

Just goes to show, it’s not just the security services who have access to your data….