Still reeling from the recent data scandal, Facebook has again attempted to clarify how much data it collects from users.
In a post published on Monday titled Hard Questions: What Information Do Facebook Advertisers Know About Me? the social network details how and why it collects data from its 2.2 billion users.
The full scale of the huge amount of data that Facebook collects on both users and non-users has been laid bare in recent weeks after it was revealed that British firm Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest data from 87 million users without their knowledge.
But in its latest post, Facebook promises users that it is not compromising their privacy in the way it collects data on them.
The post also hits back at the suggestion that Facebook’s users are its product, adding that it uses ads in order to make sure the service remains free of charge.
In the post, Rob Goldman, Facebook’s Vice President, Ads explains that there are 3 ways in which the firm gathers information from users that is then used for advertising purposes.
First, it monitors how people use Facebook and shows them ads based on things they have shown an interest in. For example, if you say you like bikes or start following a page about cycling, then it will show you ads related to this.
Second, it can use data brought to them from businesses who can use Facebook to target people who are interested in or who may have already bought their products.
Third, and this is the most controversial, Facebook admits it knows which apps and websites its users are visiting in order to show them relevant ads.
For example, Facebook knows if you looked at a certain hotel on a booking website but didn’t actually make a reservation.
Facebook says that it needs to do this in order to make the experience more enjoyable users by showing “better and more relevant ads”.
Facebook argues that while some users may not like to be shown ads, what users really hate is being shown ads for products or services they really have no interest in.