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  • Darshan Pareek

More than 2,000 companies shared users' online activity data with Facebook: Report



A recent investigation by Consumer Reports has revealed which all companies shared details of your online activities with Facebook, which then likely used the data to throw personalised ads to the users.


Consumer Reports, a non-profit organisation, used data from 709 volunteers and found that 186,892 companies sent their information to Facebook.


On average, each participant had their data sent by 2,230 companies, but the numbers varied. The study focused on hidden tracking methods, including server-to-server tracking and Meta tracking pixels on websites.


The participants were asked to download a copy of their Facebook data of the last three years from their Facebook account settings. After obtaining this data, participants shared it with Consumer Reports for the purpose of the study.


The study's results may not be representative of the entire US population, as participants were self-selected and likely more privacy-conscious.


The group also limited its research to US residents, an omission, which leaves a whole lot of sly data hoarding and sharing yet unrevealed.


Meta, Facebook's parent company, defended its practices, saying they provide transparency tools.


LiveRamp, a San Francisco-based data broker, appeared in 96 per cent of participants' data. Not only data brokers but also well-known retailers like Home Depot, Macy's, and Walmart were among the top companies sharing data.


Credit reporting companies like Experian and TransUnion's Neustar, as well as Amazon, Etsy, and PayPal, were also on the list.


Some state privacy laws, like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), give consumers the right to know how companies use their personal information.


Facebook users can check the list of companies sharing their data by going to the Accounts Center, clicking on "Your information and permissions," and selecting "Your activity off Meta technologies" and then "Recent activity."


Users can manage their data and prevent future sharing by selecting "Disconnect" for specific companies. Detailed information about these interactions can be requested by users.

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