Facebook Is Going to Start Tracking Everything You Look At Online -- Yes, Everything

 It was just announced that starting next month, Facebook will collect your browsing data for targeted ads. That's right, Facebook's new data collection policy means that any page you visit that includes a "Like" button will now be recorded, regardless of whether you click on anything or not. Now your most embarrassing searches and stalk sessions are going to be recorded and sold to advertisers by Facebook for profit. And let's face it, we're all visiting pages we don't necessarily want to see ads about later.

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Now Nicholas Weaver has his own concerns about the new practice, and he makes a really good point.

For those of us for whom porn isn't a major concern, consider some of the other shady stuff you look at online. Just this week alone I've searched for articles on whether ice cream is a real addiction (not really), whether certain family members' personalities rise to the level of clinical narcissism (results inconclusive), and if a mark on my leg is melanoma or an old age spot (old age spot). I also did research on the best toilets, clinical strength deodorants, and chili recipes. But please don't tell Facebook about all of that. Some things are just personal.

More from The Stir: Facebook Saves All Your Creepy Stalker Searches, but Here's How to Delete Them

You can opt out. But just from the seeing the targeted ads part. Not from the actual having your browsing history collected part, so that's not a lot of help if you're really concerned about privacy. And if you are, you're not alone. The advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation has lobbied against Facebook's data collection policies for years.

For real, our every move is being tracked online by someone in the government or some marketing executive trying to sell us toothpaste. I mean, this isn't completely shocking -- although there is a level of trust we give to a site that collects all of our photos and impromptu thoughts. And as it becomes easier and more profitable to track our every move, you can bet there will be more to come. Our options? Avoid online activity, which for most of us is completely absurd. Another is simply to be aware of the driving forces behind the hunger the market has for every shred of data about us they can grab. They want to sell us stuff. They want to know our desires before we do. The ultimate power we have is to be aware of the practices and make our purchasing decisions accordingly.

Either that or stop looking at embarrassing stuff online. But we all know that's not likely to happen anytime soon. Now, BRB, just found out videos of dogs on swings was a thing.

 

Image via mkhmarketing/Flickr

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