May 28, 2010

Proof that Facebook is Making Money Revealing Your Private Data

Conspiracy theories abound around Facebook and its dubious privacy policies. People say it is selling information to the CIA and other high level agencies with very little regard to your private data.

And it’s probably true. Facebook’s entire business model is based on the fact that, the more information it exposes publically, the more money it makes from data mining agencies and search engine traffic.

I have proof of all of this. Recently, Facebook announced some privacy changes to its website that made some things public, including your interests, friends and basic demographics. This resulted in a massive amount of information suddenly being available publically, allowing Google to crawl and index the data. As a result, Facebook has received a massive spike in traffic from search engines lately, leading to more adverts served, more users and more revenue.

facebook traffic spike

The truth is, the less privacy Facebook gives you, the more money it makes. Where will it stop? Nobody knows except Zuckerburg and his closest associates. What you can do about it right now is to take steps to protect your online privacy.

Disclaimer: I own a social media data mining agency that mines such public information, but I am against Facebook’s privacy changes due to the simple fact that most users don’t know what’s public about them. The social web is becoming more public and it really is a great thing, but social networks must never leave people uncertain over how their private information is shared.

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  1. Ralph June 11, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Makes sense. What, they got like 700 million in financing and just became profitable. I wouldn’t be surprised that they are finding other ways to cover their server cost.

  2. Kathryn June 24, 2010 at 2:50 pm


    And there are those that might argue that Facebook is still safe because you just have to go through all the privacy controls regularly, and make sure that you’re not allowing anything to publish without your consent…. Ja right.

    I considered myself fairly Facebook aware until I googled myself (as you do), and found references to two comments it hadn’t told me it was publishing, and didn’t ask my permission about. They were harmless comments, but they still had my name attached, freely available for the perusal of the googlopolis. Also, you can delete your account, but I have my suspicions about the complete erasure of all your uploaded data.

    Funny thing is, people will go to lengths to shred their paperwork before throwing it away (electricity bills, ID copies), yet they will still house a large portion of their potentially professionally-damaging personal life on a third party server in the USA? Meh. I’d be very worried about Facebook.

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