What Facebook knows about you

The personal file with all the data that Facebook has on every one of its users can actually be downloaded in “Settings”. (iStockphoto)

The social network collects all the activity of every user in a file that can be downloaded

Facebook is the largest social network in the world: more than 2,000 million people use it every day to connect with friends and family, read news and share opinions. All this activity generates a huge amount of information.

Pictures, commentsm likes, shares, impressions, clicks,… The network records every move of each of its user and saves them in a personal file. Anything you write or share is stored forever on Facebook servers.

Your personal file, what’s in it?

The file that Facebook has of each one of its users contains information on all our activity on the net since the account was opened. The information is classified in four folders.

Two of these folders contain the videos and photos uploaded by the user, but also the images published by other users in which you’ve been tagged.

The third folder contains the messages: your posts on your wall, comments on your own posts and other users’, among others.

The last folder is named under Html: it contains additional informationa such as a list of your friends and a record on posts that have been shown or published on your wall, be it by friends or publicity Also, it also shows in which of them you clicked.

Facebook’s personal file includes one named El archivo personal de index.htlm, which keeps the profile’s personal information: age, where you live and other personal data, as well as our friends’ or our own contact information such as phone numbers or email addresses.

What does Facebook do with this information?

Facebook offers all its services for free and users needn’t pay to register. Still, Facebook earns millions of dollars every month: where does that money come from?

Money comes from the information that Facebook collects and sells to advertisers. Facebook collects personal data (age, gender, educational level, income, tastes, political ideals) and later classifies and filters users into various profiles according to their interests.

Instead of paying to show ads to all Facebook users, companies can buy this information and advertise only to users who might be interested in their products or services.

For instance, Netflix will advertise on the accounts of those people interested in series and movies, while Reebok or Nike will advertise their products to users who have liked sports pages.

Not only companies can do this: a political party can use Facebook information to influence people with similar political ideas and will not spend money on ads for people who have very different opinions.

How can we download this file?

If you have a Facebook account and want to know what your file contains, you can download it by following these easy steps:

Go to Facebook’s blue top bar and display the menu (icon with the arrow) and choose “Settings”. Select the option “Download a copy of your information”, click on the green “Generate file” button and enter your Facebook password.

Data collection may take a few minutes. When it’s ready, you will receive an email and a notification on Facebook to access the page from where you can download the file on to your computer.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report

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