Track your Facebook activity: collect and analyze your own data
— Feb 21, 2017
Did you ever wonder how a sponsored publication manages to slip into your Facebook feed? And why certain suggestions seem to be so pertinent? Obviously, it’s because Facebook has collected and analyzed your data. But just how is collection and processing carried out?
The Chrome Data Selfie browser extension shows you the operation of the algorithms that track your Facebook activity and the processing done to identify your habits and personality.
Data Selfie follows your Facebook activity, including the pages you liked, what you look at and for how long, and what you write or click on. The extension studies these interactions, models them, collects data and interprets them using machine learning algorithms from IBM Watson and the University of Cambridge.
Facebook control panel
The extension includes a control panel that displays your Facebook activity on a timeline, where color codes indicate the various ways your data are used.
The control panel also displays insights gleaned from the Facebook posts that attracted your attention the most (publications by friends or “liked” pages). This allows establishing analyses that can predict things like your political leanings or nutritional preferences.
But don’t worry. To avoid malicious use of your data, they are only stored locally on your computer and are never stored on an external server.
An open source initiative
The creator of Data Selfie has made the code available in open source on GitHub for interested developers. This extension is part of an initiative that aims to promote transparency on the internet. In an entertaining but rather scary way, it obliges us to reconsider how we use the internet and think about what is done with our data.
The extension is available here.
We like: the open source initiative and the clarification of how algorithms process our personal data.
We were inspired by: showing how personal data is used can raise awareness of this sensitive issue. Just like making data anonymous, keeping your own data is a way to maintain control of the way you leave tracks on the internet.
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