Home / Technology / Juha Saarinen: Find out what Facebook and others know about you

Juha Saarinen: Find out what Facebook and others know about you

The Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal is still boiling, which is good as more and more people ask what they have uploaded to the social network and other online services.

Not that anyone can get a good answer this question by logging in to Facebook and clicking around. You do not get a good overview of what data Facebook stores in this way.

Download your data from Facebook instead. Go to this website: https://web.facebook.com/settings and click on the link "Download a copy of your Facebook data".

You will be asked if you have a compressed archive of your data, need to enter your Facebook password and be warned to keep the information secure; Be aware of this warning because the file you receive contains sensitive information not just for you but for your friends as well.

Thanks to Facebook's excellent open source software, the social network servers quickly put together a data package] For UFB, downloading the large 61

8.5 megabyte archive was quick and easy. Decompress the information, and you see Facebook organizes the information as well as websites.

Now you can get a better picture of the wealth of data Facebook has on you – and to a degree, which advertisers have your information as well. I mean, why does KLM's Ghanaian office have my contact information?

Your timeline posts, comments, photos, videos, the ads you clicked on, and so much more. There was a lot of old stuff that I had forgotten and did not realize what it was. Facebook remembers everything, and its algorithms can connect the dots, even if that's not possible.

There is so much data. Keeping track would really be a full time job.

I was a little alarmed to find a long list of my contacts with phone numbers and email addresses in the archive. Over the years, the list looked like some of the entries were really old and no longer in my existing address book.

Where did the contact list come from and when was it uploaded? The archive did not tell me that. Searching for the deletion of imported contacts led me to the Facebook messenger settings (https://web.facebook.com/mobile/messenger/contacts) and the list I found there looked very similar to the one I found in the archive. [19659002] I do not remember doing it, but I gave Messenger permission to access my phone contacts. Messenger has faithfully uploaded them to Facebook and kept every single entry over the years, including those I no longer had on my phone. At least Facebook did not have my call logs, as Wellington developer Dylan McKay noted his data archive

https://twitter.com/dylanmckaynz/status/976368845635035138 Others also found call logs in their archives; As a journalist I would feel very uncomfortable if Facebook knew who I was talking to and when, and I would be forced to delete my account if that was the case.

The long and small: you should definitely download archives from Facebook, Twitter Google, LinkedIn and other services that contain personal information.

If you know what's there, you can use a search engine to find out how you can erase the data stored online, things you do not want to share. Once again: Please keep the downloaded data.

It is a sobering experience to clearly see some of the data you have stored. I say "some of the data" because I have no idea where all the information associated with me is.

I also do not know which twisted assumptions derive automated algorithms from my data, some of which are outdated or silly nonsense. If Cambridge Analytica had used my data, her profile on me would have been ridiculously wrong.

Examining personal data such as those mentioned above makes you feel like an involuntary part of larger systems that you have little control over, let alone say it's not a great feeling, but that's life when you use the product are.

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