A dog stands in front of a computer screen with a facebook page opened on it, on January 4, 2013 in Lille, Northern France
A dog stands in front of a computer screen with a facebook page opened on it, on January 4, 2013 in Lille, Northern France

Facebook reveals every creepy bit of information that it stores on its users

There are 98 different things – including some of the most personal information there can be about a person

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Tuesday 23 August 2016 16:39

Facebook has revealed the huge number of things it knows about people – and uses to send them ads.

Most people might presume that Facebook knows almost everything about their lives. But it has been quiet about exactly what information it has, how it does it and how the data is stored.

Now it has opened up slightly by launching a special page intended to educate its users about what exactly it is collecting.

That page reveals all of the information that Facebook has on a person. And some of it is of the most intimate, personal nature.

Parts of the data are clearly assembled from the kinds of questions that people are asked when they use or join up to the site. Where they went to school or their age, for instance, are both used when registering; and other things like whether a person is recently married can easily be figured out from people’s posts on the site.

But other parts of the information are far more personal. The site collects whether a person owns a car – and, importantly, whether they’re planning to buy another car, and how soon. It also allows advertisers to target people who are "heavy" buyers of alcohol, people who have a lobt of debt, or people who are "receptive" tpo offers from companies offering online deals.

That kind of information is collected from around the internet, since Facebook watches its users as they travel around visiting other pages. A visit to a certain car brand’s website will help register the sort of car a person is looking for, and the number and length of those visits will help indicate how serious the user is about buying one.

Facebook says that it collects the information in part so that ads are more useful to people. The page that includes the various types of ads tells users that the company believes “the ads you see across the Facebook family of apps and services should be useful and relevant to you”, for instance.

It collects that information in a variety of ways, Facebook says. That might come through Facebook’s own apps and services; information that is shared with a business, including through loyalty programs; location, like where a phone is; and “other online activity”.

Facebook drone's first flight

It’s that last kind that is the most secretive, and discussed. Every page that includes a Facebook share or like button allows Facebook to see when a signed-in user visits their site, and that can then be used to target ads.

Those ads themselves can then be bought by companies, who can choose to use any of the information to target ads at specific people.

The full list of 98 different datapoints that Facebook stores about people is below.

  1. Location
  2. Age
  3. Generation
  4. Gender
  5. Language
  6. Education level
  7. Field of study
  8. School
  9. Ethnic affinity
  10. Income and net worth
  11. Home ownership and type
  12. Home value
  13. Property size
  14. Square footage of home
  15. Year home was built
  16. Household composition
  17. Users who have an anniversary within 30 days
  18. Users who are away from family or hometown
  19. Users who are friends with someone who has an anniversary, is newly married or engaged, recently moved, or has an upcoming birthday
  20. Users in long-distance relationships
  21. Users in new relationships
  22. Users who have new jobs
  23. Users who are newly engaged
  24. Users who are newly married
  25. Users who have recently moved
  26. Users who have birthdays soon
  27. Parents
  28. Expectant parents
  29. Mothers, divided by “type” (soccer, trendy, etc.)
  30. Users who are likely to engage in politics
  31. Conservatives and liberals
  32. Relationship status
  33. Employer
  34. Industry
  35. Job title
  36. Office type
  37. Interests
  38. Users who own motorcycles
  39. Users who plan to buy a car (and what kind/brand of car, and how soon)
  40. Users who bought auto parts or accessories recently
  41. Users who are likely to need auto parts or services
  42. Style and brand of car you drive
  43. Year car was bought
  44. Age of car
  45. How much money user is likely to spend on next car
  46. Where user is likely to buy next car
  47. How many employees your company has
  48. Users who own small businesses
  49. Users who work in management or are executives
  50. Users who have donated to charity (divided by type)
  51. Operating system
  52. Users who play canvas games
  53. Users who own a gaming console
  54. Users who have created a Facebook event
  55. Users who have used Facebook Payments
  56. Users who have spent more than average on Facebook Payments
  57. Users who administer a Facebook page
  58. Users who have recently uploaded photos to Facebook
  59. Internet browser
  60. Email service
  61. Early/late adopters of technology
  62. Expats (divided by what country they are from originally)
  63. Users who belong to a credit union, national bank or regional bank
  64. Users who investor (divided by investment type)
  65. Number of credit lines
  66. Users who are active credit card users
  67. Credit card type
  68. Users who have a debit card
  69. Users who carry a balance on their credit card
  70. Users who listen to the radio
  71. Preference in TV shows
  72. Users who use a mobile device (divided by what brand they use)
  73. Internet connection type
  74. Users who recently acquired a smartphone or tablet
  75. Users who access the Internet through a smartphone or tablet
  76. Users who use coupons
  77. Types of clothing user’s household buys
  78. Time of year user’s household shops most
  79. Users who are “heavy” buyers of beer, wine or spirits
  80. Users who buy groceries (and what kinds)
  81. Users who buy beauty products
  82. Users who buy allergy medications, cough/cold medications, pain relief products, and over-the-counter meds
  83. Users who spend money on household products
  84. Users who spend money on products for kids or pets, and what kinds of pets
  85. Users whose household makes more purchases than is average
  86. Users who tend to shop online (or off)
  87. Types of restaurants user eats at
  88. Kinds of stores user shops at
  89. Users who are “receptive” to offers from companies offering online auto insurance, higher education or mortgages, and prepaid debit cards/satellite TV
  90. Length of time user has lived in house
  91. Users who are likely to move soon
  92. Users who are interested in the Olympics, fall football, cricket or Ramadan
  93. Users who travel frequently, for work or pleasure
  94. Users who commute to work
  95. Types of vacations user tends to go on
  96. Users who recently returned from a trip
  97. Users who recently used a travel app
  98. Users who participate in a timeshare

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