Facebook Shadow Profiles: A Profile of You That You Never Created

This post was originally published in 2015 by Laura Gowans, SpiderOak’s COO. Facebook continues this practice today.

WHAT IS A FACEBOOK SHADOW PROFILE?

Even if you never provided them, Facebook very likely has your alternate email addresses, your phone numbers, and your home address — all helpfully supplied by friends who are trying to find you and connect.

WHY DOES IT MATTER THAT FACEBOOK IS COLLECTING EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT ME?

EVEN NON-FACEBOOK USERS WERE FOUND

One recent lawsuit focuses not on email addresses or phone numbers, but instead “face templates”: whenever a user uploads a photo, Facebook scans all the faces and creates a “digital biometric template”.

In other words, Facebook is using math to determine who’s who in a picture, based on a scan of your features. If you’re already a user, Facebook can suggest that your friend tag you, but if you’re not a user, Facebook attaches your “face template” information to the same ghost profile with your other contact information on it.

Even if you’ve never signed up for Facebook, you may have a profile that contains your contact info and a mathematical template of what you look like nonetheless.

Originally published at SpiderOak.com on May 24, 2015.

Security with no backdoors. End-to-end encrypted collaboration and backup. Protecting your security with No Knowledge software for 11 years.

Security with no backdoors. End-to-end encrypted collaboration and backup. Protecting your security with No Knowledge software for 11 years.