Facebook Confirms it Collects Data Beyond Social Network Use

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s company spent $8.8 million on his security last year

JIM WATSON AFP Getty Images Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s company spent $8.8 million on his security last year

At the end of a critical week for Facebook, one that included more than 10 hours of testimony on Capitol Hill by CEO Mark Zuckerberg about issues such as user privacy and data security, the company disclosed what it spent on a different kind of security: Its CEO's.

Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant. The company has now tried to clarify on questions how it collects data even when people are actually logged out of the website or the app. "This is because other apps and sites don't know who is using Facebook".

It's hard to get out of Facebook's reach and a blog post by Facebook's product management director David Baser reiterates this in many ways.

Other companies, including Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Pinterest and LinkedIn (NASDAQ:MSFT) have similar setups, Facebook says.

Google has its own Analytics service. Baser said this data collection process is the same for any website or app, including YouTube, Google or Twitter, not just Facebook.

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The figure for 2016 was also more than double what was spent on the next highest personal security bill for a CEO in the Fortune 100, according to an analysis by the executive compensation and research firm Equilar (companies have not all filed their figures yet for 2017).

Whenever you visit other websites, Facebook, either through its services on those websites or through the cookies (basically a form of code which tracks users' activities over the internet) stored on your browser, collects location, browser information including your past activities and operating system, among others. That game you play or app you use also contains a lot of personal information. "This can help with things like saving items in your shopping cart", Baser explained.

Mind you, most information which Facebook or other websites collect are vital to render meaningful services. "We also get information about which website or app you're using, which is necessary to know when to provide our tools", Baser noted. "For example, receiving data about the sites a particular browser has visited can help us identify bad actors". I want to be clear: We don't sell people's data.

Zuckerberg's lack of legal acumen was exposed during the hearing, as he told lawmakers on a number of occasions that he believes Facebook is "responsible" for content posted on its platform.

Amid a revamp following the breakout of the data breach scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, the social media giant announced a facelift for its "Bookmarks" section to facilitate easy access and navigation of settings.

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