The social network for a long time collects the personal data of users and actively develops technologies that can help it in this.
The New York Times journalist Sahil Chinoy published material on patent applications filed with Facebook in recent years. The technologies described in these documents are not necessarily already implemented–many of them register the social network, just to overtake competitors. Nevertheless, in many Facebook patents it is about collecting personal information–given the recent scandals with the leakage of user data, it is not worth ignoring such documents, Chinoy says. In his article, he compiled a compilation of the most interesting, in his opinion, Facebook patents.
1. A technology that finds out whether the user is in a relationship. Algorithms collect information about how often a person visits other people’s pages and whether they have favorite profiles, analyze downloaded photos and so on. Thus, the system tries to assume the family status of the user, if he himself does not indicate this information for some reason.
2. Classification of personality. Facebook analyzes user publications and draws conclusions about his psychological characteristics: extraversion, openness, emotional stability and other qualities. The received data are used for more exact selection of targeting advertising.
3. Identification of the camera. One of the patents describes the technology of fixing a unique print of any camera on scratches and other defects on the lens–the algorithms will fix their location. This will help to determine which camera the photo was taken to, even if the picture is posted by another user.
4. Facebook has a patent for the technology of wiretapping: for example, if a person is watching television and the smartphone is nearby, the social network will be able to find out which show the user is watching, then to show him the appropriate advertising.
5. Definition of the work schedule. For a number of parameters like geolocation, as well as the frequency and time of use of the smartphone, Facebook can form an approximate schedule for the user’s life.
“While Facebook continues to collect our personal information, we should be concerned that these data can be used for more insidious purposes than targeting,” said Jennifer King, director of consumer protection at The Center for Internet & Society. “The consequences of all this can be quite real.”