Nice bit of reporting from Swedish Radio. They built an online fake pharmacy and activated Facebook advertising tools. Thousands of simulated visits to the pharmacy were made each day, and the reporters could see all the sensitive, personal information being stored by Facebook.

Facebook sent no warnings to the pharmacy, despite saying they have tools in place to prevent this from happening.

A few weeks ago they revealed how this was happening with real pharmacies.

@axbom great experiment. I'm, however, not that comfortable with SR shifting the narrative away from the companies enabling the collection of such data.

Sure it sucks that Facebook fails to filter the data and might have claimed otherwise but Swedish pharmacies sharing such data, to begin with...

@abbe98 Very fair point. I'm not read up on how the whole data collection works in this case, but I'm also wondering how much is automated by FB advertising tools and how much is proactively shared.

All-in-all I think companies are extremely naive in their use of third-party tools. And data that may be collected under fair-use to process an order is inadvertently then also shared with subprocessors for profile building.

@axbom @abbe98 I think that this is it: Facebook says one thing, and does another. Facebook is trying to shift blame onto advertisers, who really are naive, but Facebook also doesn't do anything proactively because they need the data, especially now that iOS privacy settings have denied them data from more than 80% of iOS users.

@kazarnowicz @axbom yeah I think you are right.

I will always see Facebook scrubbing data as band-aid as the collection should be avoided in the first place. I also think that people put different levels of trust in their pharmacy company compared to Facebook & co.

That's why I find the narrative slightly problematic while the reporting is both informative and interesting in itself.

@abbe98 @axbom yeah, Facebook cannot be trusted to do anything pro-user that also is bad for their bottom line. What I'm really curious about is how they use shadow profiles now that GDPR is in place.

@axbom Indeed. Embedding a like-button or Adsense service seems so innocent. We need to increase awareness and lower the barrier to discover such issues.

@axbom Sounds very interesting; will read the article later.

@axbom As expected, nothing to be surprised of (sadly!): everything about Facbook is as bad as you can think.

@axbom I remember back in the day when I first got my FB developer account and I could create apps and games and put in the terms when people logged in to them that I could basically do what ever I wanted with their personal data.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Axbom Social

The Mastodon home of Per Axbom.