What I learnt by tracking my own Facebook activities

We all know that Facebook, Google and numerous other website are tracking and monitoring our data. Some are doing so legally and others not. But does it really matter?After all, what would a few likes, a few clicks, a few searches and chats give away about me? So I tracked some of my own activities on my facebook social profile and the answer to my previous question is “QUITE A LOT“.

Disclosure: I did not feel comfortable sharing all the results online so I am deliberately blurring and withholding some of the results.  

Like I said, I wanted to monitor my Facebook behaviour and so I used a tool called “Data Selfie“. To put it simply, Data selfie will record your activity and then use machine learning in order to build you a profile/persona. You can also then export the raw data which is in JSON format and play with or analyse. I used visual studio code to open the file and the following 2 screenshots show the contents of the file.

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Let’s get to the visualised results now. The following image is a visual representation of my digital print on Facebook consisting of what I looked at, liked, clicked and typed.

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All the results and predictions are based on only this much data which is roughly 43 hours over a time period of a little more than two weeks. The machine learning algorithm is part IBM and part from the Cambridge University API.

Friends and Interests

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This one is pretty straightforward. If I have a crush or am stalking someone or their post they will appear here as well as all friends who are influential to me (consciously or unconsciously). All pages that I read and get my information from also appears. Basically, this thing is a roadmap or blueprint for anyone who wishes to influence my wants, opionions and belief system at a certain point in time with enough fund.

 

Religious Orientation

My observation is that the system is quick at picking up subtle hints and keeps on improving and getting more accurate. Whether you are a Muslim, Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Agnostic, Jew or Atheist if you give the system enough time and it will figure that out.

Political Orientation

Okay, this one surprised me. I refrain from posting anything directly related to politics but it still picked it up based on what I like and read. Whether you are really uninvolved, more conservative or liberal-minded individual, it will find it out. Imagine how much politicians would pay or want to desperately get their hands on this data during elections. (Yes, while I am not very vocal about it all the time, I believe in equality and liberty and will stand for it).

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Based on the data collected, the system algorithm will even predict your psychological gender, things like life satisfaction and intelligence, leadership capabilities. The more data collected, the better the prediction would get. For example, when I started my psychological gender was around 42% and it gradually increased. (The latest figures currently show 84%).

Commercial Data

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Classified between ‘Likely to’ and ‘Not likely to’, I believe the following are part of the data that companies and marketers fight and pay for in the form of advertising. This is what banks would want in order to know who might be considering a new business and loans. This is what GYMS would want to know who is likely to buy membership or health and fitness products. This is the data that restaurants would want in order to know if you are susceptible to eat their food. This is the data that will say whether you buy online or at local shops. To summarise, this is part of the data that is sold and makes facebook the giant it is.

If you are curious, I recommend you to do the same with the chrome extension and through data selfie.  It will only store your data on your machine so your data belongs only to you (and facebook.. and all the other games and quizzes apps to which you willingly or unknowingly gave access to in the past).

2 thoughts on “What I learnt by tracking my own Facebook activities

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