Thousands of Companies Contribute to Facebook’s Data Stores on Each Person

Thousands of companies contribute to Facebook’s data stores on each person. Consumer Reports just recently found that tons of companies contribute to the data store of Facebook on each person. To be precise, 48,000 firms all over sent Facebook data on a single person.

Facebook’s Data Stores on Each Person

Facebook’s Data Stores on Each Person

A recent study by Consumer Reports, utilizing a downloadable PDF format, delved into the extent of data sharing between thousands of companies and Facebook. The study involved 709 volunteers who, with assistance from The Markup, retrieved their personal data from Facebook using its Download Your Information tool.

The findings were startling: on average, Facebook received data from 2,230 different companies for each participant. A notable case revealed that one volunteer’s data encompassed information from nearly 48,000 different companies. Overall, Facebook’s data archives indicated that a staggering 186,892 companies had contributed information about the participants in the study.

The Source of This Data

The source of this data primarily stems from companies utilizing Meta’s advertising platform. These companies upload detailed information about customers’ personal details and purchasing behaviors. Meta leverages this data to tailor targeted ads, either to the specific individuals or to users with similar profiles. The study highlighted the prevalence of “microtargeting,” evidenced by the fact that 96,000 of the listed companies were targeting a single volunteer.

Content and Findings of the Study

A significant 96% of the participants’ data archives included information shared by LiveRamp, a data broker. However, it wasn’t just data brokers involved. Prominent retailers such as The Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon also appeared in the data. Additionally, smaller businesses, like a car dealership in a small Texas town, were surprisingly prominent, accounting for data on 10% of the study’s volunteers.

Many companies remained unidentified, often represented by nonsensical character strings or generic names. Acxiom, the parent company of LiveRamp, boasts an extensive reach, claiming the ability to target over 2.5 billion consumers globally and to construct comprehensive consumer profiles.

What the Study Unveiled

The study sheds light on the misconception that smartphones are “listening” to users to serve relevant ads. In reality, the detailed knowledge companies have about consumer preferences, sizes, favored brands, and purchasing patterns is far more intricate and predictive than mere eavesdropping.



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