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Link: Facebook’s secret data-collecting weapon: the pixel

This is another great piece from Julia Angwin @ The Markup, shining the spotlight on the tactics of big tech.

This newsletter looks at the Facebook “Pixel”. It’s a seemingly innocuous tracking script to site owners (“we’re just improving our conversion rate!”) and simultaneously one of grossest widespread violations of privacy on the internet.

As Jason Kint has pointed out on many occasions, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority’s report into big tech showed that Facebook collect more data more users when then they’re not on Facebook than they do when users are on the site. That’s because of the Facebook Pixel.

Any site using a Facebook Pixel is sending your data to Facebook whether you like it or not.

Probably without your clear, informed permission. And almost certainly without a simple, easy way to withdraw permission – if you ever gave it to them, that is.

When you think about the scale of data fed back to Facebook, it’s pretty horrendous. I’m glad we live in a time where browsers like Firefox and Safari are working to protect internet users against this mass invasion of privacy.