FB, as an olive branch to concerned users, is permitting people to download their ‘own’ data from the platform. But this isn’t the whole story.
What’s missing from the download
The existing data dump includes only what came from you. You should ask for every record from their internal DBs with your user ID on it.
I’m using this list as a source for the first column and inferring the second column.
|Ads clicked||Ads shown. who paid for each ad and how much the view / click cost|
|Ad topics (based on stated preferences)||Ad topics inferred from other sources. Which topics were used to target each ad you saw.|
|Intentional activity (your interactions w/ FB)||Passive activity – times & locations captured by FB apps & cookies. Information scraped from your device by their installed software|
|Friends you added||Friend suggestions and the provenance for each one. Contacts scraped from phones & email accounts. Network links inferred via other methods.|
|Logged-in activity||Logged-out activity inferred to your account, and how each datapoint was attached|
|Their history of your internet activity and how each datapoint was collected.|
|AB tests / user experiments they ran on you|
|Datapoints inferred by cross-referencing 3rd-party data or running internal models|
|What information they sold or gave away, and to whom, including in anonymized form|
|Which employees accessed which pieces of my data and why (anonymize to job title to be safe)|
Privacy is bipartisan
Privacy is an issue that has bipartisan support, so there is political cover for legislation here.
I’m not asking the government to regulate what FB is permitted to do with user data – only to force FB to be transparent. Then users can make their own choice.
We shouldn’t even require government disclosure; users can form their own groups and decide what to do. FB has been selling themselves for years as a platform for collective action. Let’s see their own users use them to find a palatable compromise on data use.
The end goal here is probably sane and powerful privacy settings with defaults that permit some behavioral ad targeting.