Last Friday, when a fun weekend was about to start, Facebook revealed a very unpleasant and upsetting news. A bug caused Facebook to expose the personal information including phone numbers and email addresses belonging to 6 million of its users. Although, Facebook has tried hard to downplay the fiasco, the real harm has already been done
Shadow Profile, a word that has been bounced across tech news since that day, has become a cause for concern. This nefarious sounding word begs the following questions:
- What is it?
- Do I have it?
- Or is it bad?
If you are a Facebook user then you sure do have it, which you are unaware of, and it sure can do harm to your privacy. Now, related to the definition of this word, it is a secret tracking of your information that might have not been provided by you to Facebook or you might actually do give it to Facebook at different times, unintentionally.
But, most of the information was collected on the sly and stored on secret servers; servers where there are troves of data that you might not have dreamed to give to Facebook.
Is Shadow Profile Real?
Of course it is real. Facebook is trying to hide it since 2007. Yes, for so long the information has been tracked secretly. Facebook launched an iPhone app in August 2007, and the “Find Friends” feature launched on iPhone and Android in April 2011. These features worked to track the details of Facebook user as well as non-Facebook user.
You might have not given your phone number to Facebook directly but your friends unintentionally did so by using this feature. Once a user allows Facebook’s app to scan its phone directory to find friends, all information from its contact list is automatically stored on Facebook servers, secretly.
Similarly, Facebook tracked your second third and other personal email address from your friends or family’s contact list. These sources can interlink with friends and even friends of friends.
At the same time, Facebook is spying on your social networking habits and behaviors that define how you and all your friends and friends of friends are connected to each other. That’s how it finds people to recommend for its “people you may know” feature.
What Information Does a Shadow Profile Stores? Is it Legal?
All information from your mobile phone to email addresses, your name, your interests, your relationship status, how many times you have liked a status, how many times you have logged in and logged out. All the information from A to Z is in the Shadow profile.
After the introduction of NSA Prism program everything is legal but in some regions it is still considered as a crime to store subject information without its consent, like in Europe.
The most concerning fact is, since 2011 information has started to leak from the Facebook servers which are still on. On the other hand, Facebook was one of the nine companies that NSA made deals with to track the information of its users though Facebook didn’t confirm it hosts shadow profile.
It is a sure fact that every Facebook user has a secret shadow profile containing much information that they might not to share with others. It’s unclear if that information has also been passed along to the NSA. But it’s certainly possible.
You sure should be worried and concerned while using Facebook. You also need to be extra vigilant while posting anything on your or your friend’s profile.
In other words, you may have an email address that you’ve never listed anywhere for anyone else to see, but because one of your friends added it to their contact list, a snooping government agency might just discover it. Stay safe!
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