Zuckerberg Lied to congress when he said Facebook, don't track users web browser actvity and then posts ads to ones FB account

I was browsing earlier today for two very specific things, one was for a law firm with a very very niche expertise, and the other was for a specialist mortgage broker, who lends on overseas properties for theself employed.


Low and behold too adverts , both of whom were spot on for what I was looking for appeared on my feed. I doubt that is a coincidence , anyone had similar experience.

Of course he fucking well lied. This has been going on for years.

I've also had adverts on Facebook for a very specific thing which I had only discussed in one WhatsApp conversation. The funny thing is, this happened before Facebook bought WhatsApp.

Anna, he when asked about whats app tracking , said a big no, it would never happen and he said the same about browser tracking and then feeding appropiate adverts. He said it would be a huge breach and " doubted " it could be done.


I first noticed this about in 2010, and thought it was me being paranoid. Today I am 100 percent of the view that is exactly what they do, just how do they get away with it, I cannot be the only one to have noticed this?

The guardian keeps advertising this weird ass website called Oh Polly to me and I genuinely can't work out why. It seems to be tight fitting clothes for ladies with giant boobs. Honestly not a porn tracker thing so why?!

I wonder if it could be because I looked at Victoria's secret but it's much pervier than that

Anna, he when asked about whats app tracking , said a big no, it would never happen and he said the same about browser tracking and then feeding appropiate adverts. He said it would be a huge breach and "doubted" it could be done.

Absolute great big hairy bollocks. I was getting adverts for something very specific which I had never discussed outside of that WhatsApp conversation or browsed for on the internet, within half an hour of that conversation taking place.

Hmm OK, correction. It happened after Facebook bought WhatsApp.

But here is what happened.

My period was very late and I told a couple of friends via WhatsApp that I was stressing out about it, not that being pregnant would be so very bad but I wanted to fit into my wedding dress. At the same time (I think in the same group chat) we talked about someone called Tiffany.

Five minutes later I went on Facebook and I was seeing ads for Tiffany Rose maternity wedding dresses.

I had not Googled any of these things.

There must be millions who have suffered the same fate, can the regulators not do anything, like fine them 3 billion, that will be a sufficient sum for them to take notice.

While Facebook (or Google etc) don't release details of this stuff, there's some extremely interesting and well-informed speculation online which can easily be found with some basic searches. 

In essence FB has a "shadow profile" of you which includes not just what YOU tell FB about yourself but what *other people* tell FB about you - *even if you don't have an account*. 

So for example, if a friend of yours uploads their phone numbers to FB (as it keeps prompting you to do), FB knows YOUR number. If a second person with no other links to your friend uploads their numbers and yours is on the same list - FB now knows that your two friends are socially connected even if they've never met..this is only the most oversimplified explanation of an insanely complex investigative database that literally has thousands of people working on it - but that's the sort of thing that freaks out people with the "People you may know" thing on FB etc..

Another thing wouldn't it mean that google and FB, are jointly in on it, how could they not be?

I think the problem is that the people listening to Zuckerberg give evidence might not use Facebook, or might not use it enough to really notice, so they'll be more inclined to believe him. Anyone who uses it regularly and also uses WhatsApp or buys a lot of stuff online will be able to tell you that Zuckerberg is lying through his teeth.

So for example, if a friend of yours uploads their phone numbers to FB (as it keeps prompting you to do), FB knows YOUR number. If a second person with no other links to your friend uploads their numbers and yours is on the same list - FB now knows that your two friends are socially connected even if they've never met.

This is another huge issue, and has resulted in people being found online by abusive ex partners, adopted children and their blood relatives being suggested to each other, and doctors' patients being suggested to each other.

LP, you are so correct, I clocked this 2 yrars ago when FB suggested for security reasons I do add a number in case I got locked out of my account. I always decline. I have 200 numbers plus in my phone and I see many work contacts have given their number, and then FB suggests I "might" know someone who has been a colleague or similar who has been foolish enough to upload their private/work number, which then connects everyone in their contacts on their phone and recommends suggestions which miraculoously coincide with those contacts on their phone. The cheek of it. So in effect who has given consent to FB to trawl through my phone and link numbers and contacts to FB accounts.

I can now view FB accounts from CEO's of large companies, and partners in various professional and financial services practices . I doubt they knew by uploading a number this is what happens. fucking disgrace. I have now uploaded a number, a made up one , lol.

This subterfuge is the most serious in my view, and be warned Linkedin are at it now, disgraceful.

LinkedIn have been doing this kind of thing for years. 

I remember being mystified as to why it kept insisting I should connect with a woman in a completely unrelated industry, whom I had never met and with whom I had no mutual connections or shared work history.

Then one day I happened to be looking for an old email from years ago and I found her. She had advertised a babysitting job in my university town and I'd emailed her to ask if she was still looking and she'd replied to say she was sorted.

I don't think I've ever even used that email account for LinkedIn. 

Look, if it’s free, you’re the product,

Zuckerberg is a baby in a sweet shop. You can fool all of the people most of the time.

Cookie but still trawling through phone and email contacts whilst saying expressly they don’t is not on . That’s why I never up load my phone number nor, main email address. 

And be warned never use the people/connections find button as this is what will happen.

Never been on it.

Never going to go on it.

Data mine THAT fucker.

Cookie, I get that and I'm OK with it to a point, but as ebitda says, Zuckerberg is being asked whether Facebook does this and he is lying and saying that they don't. Having a business model that relies on selling advertising space is one thing. Most of the printed media has been doing it for hundreds of years. People understand why they are seeing adverts. What you can't expect people to understand is the lengths to which Facebook has gone, combing through their data and reading or listening in on private conversations on other platforms or email accounts (and even data unwittingly provided by other people without your or their knowledge) in order to do so.

And of course, it now seems certain that Facebook is being used as a sophisticated tool to subvert democracy. But if a committee of intelligent people can listen to Mark Zuckerberg flatly deny that Facebook uses people's data in ways it clearly does, and be reassured, they are hardly likely to believe evidence of Facebook being used in even more nefarious ways. 

Fair does 3 ducks but they are taking your friends family and work connections data also 

To be fair, Dux is exactly the sort of person who would swallow some guff posted on Facebook by a Russian bot about bendy bananas or Turket joining the EU and then go merrily about his day without the slighest suspicion that his thoughts had been tampered with.

I keep getting bombarded with "People's Vote" propaganda. Just be alert. I've been scrutinising stuff like that since I was a kid. 

And yet apparently nothing sensible has penetrated your little brain. That's quite impressive.

Oooh look all the bitter Europhiles hanging out together...

Dux, I'm happy for you. I really am. It must be so cosy walking around in a little fug of stupidity and not actually worrying about anything.

You see it is that sort of intellectual brilliance that has people in awe - given that this thread is completely not about Europe

strutter - that is exactly the point about "shadow profiles" - Zuckerberg knows a fuckton about you even if you've never been on FB, based on the information everyone else you know has uploaded about you...

The "free" internet is making the world increasingly poopy. "Information wants to be free" was a comfortable lie which has massively backfired on us all. Free social media is making your life worse because its algorithms subtly modify your behavior over time, driving you towards a worse, baser version of yourself: negative emotions evoke a greater response in us, so that what we are given by our feeds. 

The internet is wonderful, but needs to be reoriented back towards actually paying for things we want and use.

The current surveillance-based data collection model is mostly driven by only Facebook and Google products. We have given them permission to oversee us which we would never willingly provide to the state.   

Delete or at least deactivate Facebook/Instagram

Stop using Google products: use ones that respect your privacy like DuckDuckGo for search and Protonmail for email.



Part of me would like to delete social media but there are so many good things about it as well. And to be honest, I would find it difficult to live without WhatsApp now, so Zuckerberg is still going to know everything about me anyway.

Take a holiday from it and see how you feel.

What is good about it other than perhaps catching the odd event and giving you a sense of connection with Friends and family who you would be better of emailing or calling in any case?  

As for What'sApp, it's rather telling how its founder is suggesting we should act





I have probably about 15-20 friends that I actively keep in touch with outside of social media. Some less often than I would like, but we make the effort. But there are many other people that I don't realistically have the time to catch up with properly, and if one of us changed our phone number or email address without telling the other, that would be it, we'd lose touch. I like seeing what they are up to, congratulating them when they get married or have a baby, wishing them happy birthday or commenting on their statuses or articles they share. I've rekindled friendships with people I hadn't seen since primary school thanks to Facebook.

I don't have time to maintain proper friendships with all of these people, but social media gives me the ability to keep a looser kind of contact with them, and I like that.

LP, I get that we may lose some contacts. Nevertheless we would have done anyway pre-Facebook, and in many cases it seems we are essentially dragging about a hoard of dead acquaintances in our daily lives. Most of such interactions via likes and throwaway comments are essentially empty and inauthentic in nature. The opportunity cost is being less present to yourself, to those around you now, or to those who may be in the future.

On the other hand, I don't understand what you are advocating for. Is it that Zuck should do a mea culpa that his entire business model is based on providing a free service in exchange for mining as much data as possible for you and your extended network, and selling it on? He can't, because as you recognise, that is his model. Absent a paid option for Facebook, which appears highly unlikely at this stage, this can't change.





I think he should be honest and transparent about what Facebook is doing, instead of lying when forrced to answer questions on the subject.

And I would probably pay for Facebook if I could guarantee that this shit would stop. 

So...stop using it until the shit does stop or a better option emerges?

Vote with your feet.

To my mind, it seems the yoot had worked this out a while ago: most young folks I know barely use it anymore. FB is a multi-billion dead man walking. It's only thirtysomethings and upwards who are still ardently keeping up the FOMO charade.  


Doesn’t matter whether it falls over either

It’s got our data and has given it to Putin

They arent eschewing Facebook because they're more savvy than we are about data mining and advertising. They're just the Snapchat and Instagram generation rather than the Facebook generation.

For me and probably most people my age, Facebook is the social media platform that nearly everyone we know is on. I just find it good for keeping up with people's news, seeing photos, remembering birthdays and just generally engaging with people. I also like the memories feature. When you've been an active Facebook user for well over for ten years, it's like an archive of your adult life. I like being reminded of what I was doing or thinking on this day three, six or ten years ago.

They're not scanning the contents of WhatsApp chats. That stuff is genuinely fully encrypted, Zuck was not lying when he said they don't and couldn't even if they tried. 

They are absolutely tracking your browsing across the web through various means though such as the pixel and like button.

I'd be very sceptical about the idea he lied to Congress about that, it's known and advertised functionality. What did he actually say? 

Every so often I purge my “friends “ from FB many of whom I barely knew. I now have fewer than 150.i have not posted anything, liked anything, or put pics up in over 7 years , and the same goes for just about every one I know . I just don’t know who uses it , they must be losing net numbers every week, hence the nefarious activities .

othereise what JH said 

Pancakes, how do you explain my story above? That is just one example of numerous occasions when I couldn't see any other way Facebook would have that sort of information about me.

I find it strange that I don't have my number on my Facebook, I don't have FB on my phone and still people I add to my Whatsapp contacts then appear on my FB as friends I might know

Two things:

1) The idea that they're scanning your chats/convos directly comes about because people really don't realise how much they can do with metadata on location, relationships, web searches etc. Some of that shit seems like it should only be possible if they're listening to what you say, but really they don't need to bother.

2) Coincidence. You see dozens or hundreds of web ads every day that you don't relate to a recent conversation and you never think about ever again. 

I'm sorry, but I don't see how else Facebook could have known those things about me. It was so specific, and the timing was too much of a coincidence.

Your profile is in their database as a woman in a particular age range that is likely getting married imminently. 

The maternity wedding dress people will have chosen to have their ads displayed to people in that specific demographic. 

The “coincidence” threshold has already been lowered enormously with the most basic targeting imaginable, and they can do far more than that. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending them here. The fact that they don’t have to spy on your convos is far worse - it makes all this much, much harder to restrict or control on any level. 

pancakes, I am not sure what you say is correct, read my OP, how did that "just happen"? By chance?

It didn’t happen by chance, like I said above they definitely track what sites you’re visiting. 

I’m sceptical of the idea that he told Congress that doesn’t happen. 

Oh come on. Facebook could have known I was shopping for wedding dresses based on my browsing history, but not that my period was late. And the "Tiffany" things, immediately after I had been discussing maternity wedding dresses and a person called Tiffany on WhatsApp?

Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

Do you use an app/your phone to monitor when you’re due?

I do now, but I didn't at the time. That's a good point though, maybe I should go back to pen and paper.

I just went on Facebook and immediately got an ad for The Economist. 

I do not want to subscribe to The Economist and have not had any recent online or offline conversations about it. Therefore I can only conclude that Facebook is not tracking me?

You have probably had conversations which indicate that you might be a potential target reader.

If your microphone is switched on and your Facebook app has access to it then it is believed that they can.

pancakes is right. I gave a very basic example of what they can do above but the reality is way more complex. They have thousands of PhDs working to data mine this stuff so the stuff they can do sounds like magic (or that they are scanning keywords - which Google actually does of course) but it’s not. 

Its a bit like Pacific island tribesmen trying to deconstruct why the crashes plane flew - they are likely to conclude its magic because they simply don’t know enough about the underlying physics and engineering. Unlike the tribesmen of course, any of us can google the answers 

There is a facebook research group call FAIR - Facebook Artificial .intelligence Research - which is running a project with NY .medical school to develop an AI application for radiology ( reading medical scans). 

dr M was at a medical conference last week where AI was all over the place, it will be the future and its all FB and Google he tells me.


Is there not some worldwide over arching regulator to stop/fine them ?

no of course not. In order they care about their home country US regulators, then the rest by market size - EU, China etc 

Struts there are bout 11mm FB users in the uk. Now don't FB have a shiny new HQ in London employing 6000 staff? Fuck knows what they all do, but nonetheless if the UK regulator fined them 3 billion quid, surely they would stop?

And as to the US market give what happened in congress I am sure the US is equally pissed off, so fine them 5 billion there also.


China doesn't have FB do they?


@ Minkie was Susskind at your hubbies conference? I do hope not.

they wouldn’t stop. It’s not existential for them the way the US regulators are. Same reason Zuck won’t turn up to testify in Parliament. They’ll just spend a fuckton or money fighting in every court and every appeal and political lobbying and hope to eventually make it go away in some fashion. That kind of strategy often works although exceptions exist like the famous Microsoft trial

But stru they have admitted various breaches so why doesn’t the country find them billions or restrict their services in some ways, the ICO surely can do something?

they could probably fine them some

cash - I’m no expert. But they can’t do anything existentially risky to them

People should always check their settings on websites and you might be able to turn certain things off. I always make sure I log out of facebook which I hardly use and linkedin as they seem some of hte worst to make you post using that identity on-line if you happen to be logged in in case you do not notice you would be posting with your FB identity or Linkedin.


The advertising that is targetted I think they argue that the big machine has no idea whom you are so it does not know John Smith is the person who loves flagpoles ((example for me - just work relatedl no personal interest and then some ads vis Amazon which thinks I love those products); bkg machine just knowsn XYZ IP addrress likes flagpoles. They also say they don't use it for dangerous type interests like sex and anything embarrassing and that people should always sign in even to family shared computers as an individual so that household members don't guess you are about to propose because wedding rings pop up on the machine.


There is a draft EU (not US) new peirvacy regulation which may be agreed next year which might change some of the rules on this a bit although God knows if it will apply in the UK as it will be after Brexit.


I don't seem to get much advertising other than if I log on to Amazon as I don't use most social media and always log out and have an ad blocker.

I believe Facebook.  Why do they need to?  They just provide the bill board site.  Others are already buying your history to determine what to place there.