Google and Facebook have more details of you than you think


A lot of posts I read here seem to say that if googling yourself won’t turn up much, then you’re almost invisible online. On the one hand I agree that a lot of people in society are becoming paranoid with online privacy and too many  argue about silly conspiracy theories without enough foundations.

I, like many here, googled myself and found mostly my social media accounts, a bunch of other people with my same name, and that’s it. Well, there was an article about ex Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Afghanistan; damn you racist Google, just because we have the same name you can’t put us in the same category!

Jokes apart, on the other hand, big tech companies have more than just our profiles. Specifically, Facebook and Google are known to collect our personal details, especially our preferences, and sell them to advertisers. I’m not even bringing up intelligence or government programs like PRISM, which many of us consider illigetimate, but at least there is the idea of security behind it, whether true or not. However, that’s another issue.

What I don’t like is advertising firms knowing what I do on social media and don’t just so they can annoy me with creepy personalised ads. All of this is no secret though, as Google and Facebook themselves state it in their “terms and conditions of use” pages. The ones we never read, to put it briefly, because we have no time to do that.

Here’s an extract from Facebook’s policy page:

“We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide, such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created. We also collect information about how you use our Services, such as the types of content you view or engage with or the frequency and duration of your activities.”

Sounds creepy, doesn’t it? Especially the part of the ”message and communicate with others”. And it’s even creepier to think advertisers will pay for it. What about Google?

‘When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services.’

They can do basically anything with what we upload and they can do it even if we delete our accounts. What can we do about it, especially since most of us need these services? All I can think of, is don’t put online anything you do.




  1. It’s a very informative blog, I learned a lot more about the policies of online privacy as a person who never go through the terms and conditions page. I can see that Google recordes my browsing history quite often, a lot of the times when I’m searching something academic there are totally unrelated product ads on the site based on my searches before.


  2. Great piece. The amount of personal data we give away to sites like these is mind-boggling. But as you’ve mentioned what can we actually do about it? In a world of fast-paced digital revolution, apps or sites that require our data are becoming a necessity for an ever increasing number of people.


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