As Facebook continues to face fallout over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have scramble to control the damage.
During Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of Congress last week, he promised to share information about what kind of data Facebook collects when folks use apps and websites that have Facebook integration. The company delivered on Zuckerberg’s promise today.
Facebook has published a detailed article explaining what data Facebook collects from third-party apps and websites.
When does Facebook get data about people from other websites and apps?
Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant. These services include:
- Social plugins, such as our Like and Share buttons, which make other sites more social and help you share content on Facebook;
- Facebook Login, which lets you use your Facebook account to log into another website or app;
- Facebook Analytics, which helps websites and apps better understand how people use their services; and
- Facebook ads and measurement tools, which enable websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers, to run their own ads on Facebook or elsewhere, and to understand the effectiveness of their ads.
Facebook has numerous plug-ins and tools that allow the social network to collect data on users, even if they’re not using the Facebook website or app. Social buttons to “Like” and “Share,” the ability to log in to a website or service using your Facebook login, Facebook Analytics, and Facebook Ads are all ways the company collects data.
Facebook specified how the data collected from each of those tools is used:
- Social plugins and Facebook Login. We use your IP address, browser/operating system information, and the address of the website or app you’re using to make these features work. For example, knowing your IP address allows us to send the Like button to your browser and helps us show it in your language. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether you’re logged in, which makes it easier to share content or use Facebook to log into another app.
- Facebook Analytics. Facebook Analytics gives websites and apps data about how they are used. IP addresses help us list the countries where people are using an app. Browser and operating system information enable us to give developers information about the platforms people use to access their app. Cookies and other identifiers help us count the number of unique visitors. Cookies also help us recognize which visitors are Facebook users so we can provide aggregated demographic information, like age and gender, about the people using the app.
- Ads. Facebook Audience Network enables other websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers. When we get a request to show an Audience Network ad, we need to know where to send it and the browser and operating system a person is using. Cookies and device identifiers help us determine whether the person uses Facebook. If they do, we can use the fact that they visited a business’s site or app to show them an ad from that business – or a similar one — back on Facebook. If they don’t, we can show an ad encouraging them to sign up for Facebook.
- Ad Measurement. An advertiser can choose to add the Facebook Pixel, some computer code, to their site. This allows us to give advertisers stats about how many people are responding to their ads — even if they saw the ad on a different device — without us sharing anyone’s personal information.
For more information, visit the Facebook Newsroom.