Very few things get under my skin as much as bullshit like this:
A recent study from Consumer Reports engaged 709 volunteers who provided archives of their Facebook user data. Astonishingly, Consumer Reports discovered that 186,892 different companies transmitted data about these users to Facebook. On average, data from each participant was shared by 2,230 companies, with some users’ data being shared by over 7,000 companies.
Think you’re outside this little net? Think again, Winston Smith:
This examination highlighted a lesser-known form of tracking known as server-to-server tracking, where personal data is transferred directly from a company’s servers to Meta’s servers, alongside the more visible method involving Meta tracking pixels on company websites.
A surprising finding was the pervasive presence of LiveRamp, a data broker, appearing in the data of 96 percent of study participants. The list of companies sharing data with Facebook extends beyond obscure data brokers to include well-known retailers like Home Depot, Macy’s, Walmart, and others, such as Experian and TransUnion’s Neustar, Amazon, Etsy, and PayPal. Notably, LiveRamp did not respond to a request for comment on this matter.
The study’s data came from two main collection types: “events” and “custom audiences.” The latter involves advertisers uploading customer lists to Meta, including email addresses and mobile advertising IDs, to target ads on Meta’s platforms. ‘Events’ describe real-world interactions, like website visits or store purchases, facilitated by Meta’s software in apps, tracking pixels on websites, and server-to-server tracking.
I’ll sum up all this in a simple sentence: if you’ve bought anything online in the past three years, your personal data is everywhere.
Of course, there are the weasels:
Emil Vazquez, a spokesperson for Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, defended the company’s data practices, stating: “We offer a number of transparency tools to help people understand the information that businesses choose to share with us, and manage how it’s used.”
Oh sure. Forgive me for being skeptical about the motives of said weasels, and the companies they work for:
However, Consumer Reports identified issues with these tools, including unclear data provider identities and companies that service advertisers often disregarding user opt-out requests.
I don’t even know what to do about all this — nothing can be done, seems to me.
But the best part of all this — and the reason for my hopelessness — is that of you think that Government isn’t getting their snouts into this data trough, I have a fucking bridge to sell you.
Corporations, no matter how big, always fall straight to their knees every time some government department demands a blowjob. And this circumstance is no different.