How Facebook tracks you on Android (even if you don’t have a Facebook account)

codomo
Codomo
Published in
7 min readNov 11, 2019

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Android phone of a user

Suppose you’ve picked up an Android phone on the street and you saw the 4 apps above. Can you guess the profile of the phone user?

Your guess is likely to be that the user is a ‘she’, her religion is Muslim, perhaps looking for a job recently, and she’s either a mother or someone who is into virtual cats.

Yes, in essence, that’s how Facebook profiles you if you own these apps in your Android phone. Now, let’s talk about the ‘how’.

Cut to the chase

  • Facebook is able to track you because Android developers of 3rd party apps (example: Indeed Job Search) implement Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK).
  • SDK is a collection of tools that eases the creation of software. By using Facebook SDK, developers can do advanced analytics without the need to code it from scratch. SDK is like a Swiss Army Knife. With it, you can start your job immediately instead of having to build your own scissors, knife, corkscrew etc.
  • This article is written based on the research conducted by Frederike Kaltheuner and Christopher Weatherhead. You can watch the full video here. The official…

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codomo
Codomo
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