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Facebook still able to monitor those who’ve deleted accounts

Atheer – External Sources

Those who have deleted their Facebook accounts after the personal data of millions of users fell into the hands of a political consultancy are still likely to be monitored by the social network, which tracks almost a third of global website traffic.

Reuters reported that according to a recent study, Google in various guises, makes up 64 percent of web-browsing worldwide.

Privacy advocates have warned for years that Facebook’s terms of use left it open to data harvesting.

Psychologist Aleksandr Kogan was able to compile data on fifty million Facebook users by creating a personality quiz that was taken by a few hundred thousand people. In consenting to its terms, the users allowed the app to collect information on their Facebook friends without their knowledge or consent.

Germany-based AdBlock Plus has one hundred million users seeking protection from ads such as auto-play videos. Whilst it isn’t a privacy product as such, users can tweak settings to increase protection.

“It’s the volcano that was going to erupt at some point – we just didn’t know when,” said Ben Williams, director of communications and operations at the company.

Williams added that although most people do not mind normal search advertising, they object to intrusive third-party ads.

In addition to AdBlock Plus, Cliqz is one of several startups that promises to protect personal data, with CEO Marc Al-Hames explaining that it prevents companies such as Facebook from spying on users.

Cliqz has an icon that shows how many private data points trackers are trying to access when you visit a site. Its anti-tracking feature substitutes private data with random information to throw trackers off and there is also an anti-phishing feature to thwart data theft.

Cliqz does store browsing history at the ‘edge’ – on desktops and smartphones and uses this to personalise search. Without enabling direct access, it also allows firms to use that information to target adverts in a way that is compliant with the new EU privacy rules.

“We can deliver a targeted ad, but it doesn’t mean that there is information about you on our servers,” Al-Hames explained.

Cliqz has around half a million active users, while Ghostery, the browser extension that monitors which web servers are being called from a given page, has around seven million.

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