Facebook surveils users through its services and then offers their data to mobile carriers and smartphone makers for free, according to a report by The Intercept. The report, which is based on a review of a confidential Facebook document, claims that the social media giant patronises some 100 such firms in 50 countries by giving them access to surveillance data culled from users’ smartphones through 'Actionable Insights', one of its many services. The data Facebook gives its partners includes users’ past locations, interests and even social groups. Facebook gathers the information using both its native app and sister apps like Instagram and Messenger. The data has been used by cellular companies to gauge how they stack up against rivals, but also for more controversial purposes such as racial profiling to run targeted advertisements, the report says. Facebook gives away the data 'to strengthen business relations' The document provides location details of users that goes well beyond the realm of PIN-code-level accuracy, and narrows down their location to within a few metres, the report said. It presented the data in a “dashboard-style view” along with maps that entailed precise user locations down to the city and street level. A unnamed source familiar with the program told The Intercept that the data Facebook collects under Actionable Insights is offered to carriers for free to strengthen business relations. This means that Facebook can very easily claim that it doesn’t sell user data to rack up revenue. Because technically, it doesn’t. Facebook’s cellular partners…
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