Does Facebook really care about privacy? It’s unbelievable how little they seem to.

Wolfie Christl
Jan 29, 2015 · 2 min read

Facebook owns Atlas. Atlas has access to all Facebook user’s data. Their privacy policy contains a duplicate section. It’s been like that since June and nobody noticed. Wow.

By Wolfie Christl

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Facebook has about 1,3 billion users, 864 million of whom are daily visitors. Facebook is now collecting and analyzing data about millions of user interactions every second — about our friends, our interests and our everyday behavior. In 2014 they even acquired Whatsapp and Instagram, and thus added millions of additional user profiles.

Recently, Facebook also acquired Atlas, a gigantic internet ad server, and according to Business Insider, one of the least well understood parts of Facebook’s business. According to Facebook’s new data policy, which will take effect on January 30, 2015, Facebook will share all of its data about users with all of its other companies. One of them is Atlas.

“The data that Facebook has on its 1.3 billion users is data that we can use in Atlas” (David Jakubowski, Director Product Marketing for Adtech at Facebook)

Atlas has also got a privacy policy, which states how Atlas is prepared to use its data. And more: Atlas aims to track users across multiple devices, also on websites outside Facebook and even offline. As a result Atlas will own one of the most comprehensive and most valuable databases about human beings, probably containing more information about our daily lives than any company or government had before.

The Atlas privacy policy — one of the most important documents for a company, whose business model is largely based on personal data — contains a section about “sharing information with other companies”. And this section is in there…twice! One paragraph is in there just twice!
It’s been like that since June 2014, and nobody noticed. Wow.

Does Facebook really care about our privacy? Did any of Facebook’s thousands of employees have a look at this privacy policy during the last months? Worse: Did anyone on this planet have a look at it at all?

Come on! This is not a tiny little startup.

[Update, Jan 30: It seems that this blog post helped Facebook to fix this today, after more than six months. Congratulations, Facebook!]


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