We could all do with a little less Facebook in our lives!

It is international day withtout Facebook or the ‘No Facebook’ day if you prefer.

It is the day to celebrate every individual’s pledge to fight for online freedom and stand up against mass-surveillance by the online social media and advertising giant, Facebook, Inc. Despite security breaches and privacy scandals the platform continues to thrive. This is why we strive to inform as many people as possible about the threat that Facebook poses in our every day life.

You might be one of the millions of people that have deleted their account following the Cambridge Analytica scandal or per your new year resolutions: good for you and for your privacy! You are not the only one.

But keep in mind that it’s not because you no longer have a Facebook account that you are shielded from their tracking.

At /e/ we strive to give people control over their privacy and help them make educated choices to protect their personal data on their smartphones.

In this article we will highlight how Facebook is embedded in our smartphones and what that means for your personal data.

What does Facebook normally know about you?

Officially, Facebook only knows about you if you create an account on their platform. They pledge to protect your privacy and supposedly only keep limited data for the purpose of connecting you to your loved ones. But once you scratch the surface, you realize they stock massive quantities of personal information. This includes every message you have ever sent, every file you have ever shared, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you have ever shared.

You might say, ‘ok that’s normal I published it on my Facebook account in the first place so it is fair’. Yet, they also gather other information that is not related to published or shared content. Login details are stocked, including precise metadata information (when you signed-in, on which device, your precise location, with whom you interact, etc…). They memorize the apps you have connected or logged into using Facebook account.

Based on all that data, profiling is quite straightforward and models of your interests, and past or future purchases, are made accessible to the highest bidder.

Wordstream, a noted online advertizing company created a detailed infographic to show all the ad-targeting options available on Facebook in 2019. Options are broken down into 5 categories: demographics, interests, behaviors, connections and re-marketing.

You find all of this information directly on Facebook’s website if you’re ready to scroll through the countless categories. Enjoy!

With 2.89 billion monthly users world-wide, a little shy of 57% of the world’s current working population , the mass of collected data keeps on growing and is a major concern for privacy and for democracy in general.

What if you don’t have an account?

The most alarming thing about Facebook is that even if you don’t have a Facebook account, they can still track and profile you with their apps’ built-in trackers that are included in most common applications you use.

You surely have seen in many apps that you can log in to a service using your Facebook ID and not have to create a new account. This is called the ‘Single Sign-on’. In theory it is very practical, you leverage an existing profile, no need to create another ID or remember another password. In practice, it’s a data mining tool.

According to a report by Privacy International in Dec 2018, when testing 34 applications on Android, each with an installation base from 10 to 500 million downloads, they would transmit data to Facebook via the Facebook SDK and especially with the Single Sign On tool as described in this video:

61% of these tested applications automatically transfer data to Facebook as soon as a user opens the application. This is the case even if the user doesn’t sign in with a Facebook account. The complete report is available below:

This was not happening on fishy apps that you will probably never install. This was going on with popular apps such as ‘My Talking Tom’, ‘Indeed Job Search’, ‘Kayak’, ‘Tinder’ and, ‘OKCupid’ to name a few. Since the report came out some of the apps have stopped sharing data in 2019 for the time being.

Does using an iPhone garantee privacy?

Despite what Apple promotes in its advertising, iPhone users are also at risk. These apps are also sharing data with Facebook on the iOS platform.

According to another report by the Washington Post from May 2019, iPhone Apps also share valuable information with trackers. The only benefit on iOS is that Apple is not preventing apps from security firms to help you block them as a user.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/28/its-middle-night-do-you-know-who-your-iphone-is-talking

How do we solve this?

At e Foundation, we believe that your data is YOUR data. We strive to deliver a different model, where you can use a smartphone without being spied upon but also identify potential threats to your privacy.

Within /e/OS, our Google-free pro-privacy Android OS, you can check whether a specific app includes any Facebook trackers before you download it on your phone. This information is directly available from our on-board application repository.

We leverage the excellent work by Exodus Privacy, a community based non-profit platform that audits and analyses the presence of trackers in Android applications, and transparently shows what trackers are hidden within each app.

Facebook have their trackers built-in a wide amount of Android apps out there, as shown in this graph:


Source: https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/en/trackers/stats/

Back to /e/OS, we use this intelligence from Exodus Privacy to create our our privacy score, that ranges from 10 to 0, 0 being the lowest, combined with a colour code from green to red.

Our scoring is based on 2 criteria:

  • the number of trackers makes up 80% of the scoring. It is based on a static analysis of the app and comparison with trackers’ signatures.

  • the number of permissions composes the remaining 20% of the scoring. It is based on Android developers public guidelines.

This scoring is transparent and meant to make users aware of privacy risks before they install their favourite apps. Recommendations for more privacy- friendly alternatives will also be available in the future, based on the same transparency.

For now we only highlight trackers in each app, in the very near future, we will allow you to keep these unwanted trackers from stealing your precious data. Stay tuned!

Visit the e.foundation site to learn more.

Download /e/OS for your smartphone here.

Help us spread the word and follow us: On Twitter / On Mastodon

Visit the Exodus Privacy website and please donate to support their work!

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Do you now how to install Facebook Container, or Multi-Account Container on Firefox for /e/ ?

Yes we could, but… One way to know a big lie: The leader personally does the opposite of what they say. Doubleclick, gstatic, youtube. And using Facebook. It follows a pattern if you know what I mean.

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I don’t have facebook account anymore. i had one in 2007-.2013/2014. but closed it, and surely have a my old account still in ghost mode, and don’t want to be tracked.
but i want to install containers pluggins on Firefox, have you tried it ?
waiting for the release on Android.
for gael duval it is an old WP site (some post are from 2007) .
I prefer him to work on /e/ instead of his WP site issue.

Thanks for spotting this.
Looks like “preach water and drink wine”

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But wait, there’s more: Facebook Pro.

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I don’t see what’s wrong. Gael having a Facebook (and Twitter) account in order to communicate or other reasons doesn’t mean it’s bad or that Gael is a false open-source and privacy focused person.

Let’s people use what they want without judgment and let’s advertise on those proprietary tools if needed.

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What they say:

“We strive to deliver a different model, where you can use a smartphone without being spied upon but also identify potential threats to your privacy.”

“you can check whether a specific app includes any Facebook trackers before you download it on your phone.”

“audits and analyses the presence of trackers in Android applications”

What they encourage:

Help us spread the word and follow us: On Twitter

What they don’t say:

Facebook and google (and many others) track you even when you simply browse the web. Apps are not the only thing. Twitter site has google tracking.

They encourage you to go to Twitter where google tracks you. While saying they are helping you de-Google. Hypocrisy!

If you aren’t on those social medias you can’t be seen.

Of course Gael could have create a hidden service on the TOR network with the forum, the website and a Facebook and Twitter alternative, but he would still be alone today so it’s completely counter productive.

The eFoundation provides an open source operating system that respects what they aim and that’s what matters.

Edward Snowden tweets a lot while he’s definitely a privacy and open source focused person because it’s the best way to spread those principles.

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Even the article they suggested, “A Year Without Facebook”, is full of web trackers, including Facebook. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be hilarious!

Edward Snowden tweets a lot

Snowden also recommended GrapheneOS, for what that’s worth.

The eFoundation isn’t responsible of the way the web is today and they can share an article they judge useful even if there are ads or trackers in it. Just use Firefox or other tools if you want and this problem is solved.

Of course in this case no trackers would have been better but the contrary isn’t badly bad.

But did he say not to use /e/OS ? The fact he recommends something else isn’t an argument nor a proof.

I think I have nothing more to add so this is probably my last post about that (here).

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finnaly, i find the default browser quite fine, based on bromite,

“If you aren’t on those social medias you can’t be seen.”

“Just use Firefox or other tools if you want and this problem is solved.”

“i find the default browser quite fine”

Sounds like some people need to study browser fingerprinting and web tracking more.

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I didn’t mean that Facebook can’t track you if you are not on Facebook but that people have less chance to learn about the existence of the eFoundation if the eFoundation isn’t on popular social media.

That’s why I’ve created the following topic which help to prevent it :

@bitemich seriously?!?!?!? These screenshots are from the sites of Indidea, Twitter, Facebook, and BerryDuchess. /e/ has no control over how these sites are setup!!! How can you criticize /e/ for using Facebook tracking on these sites. Wow.
As @Anonyme already said, “f you aren’t on those social medias you can’t be seen.” Totally true and a very valid reason to use the sites!!!

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@donut3 Do you know Indidea is Gael Duval’s personal website? He could have it hosted anywhere. He should set the example, and find ways to break away. Or you can ask, how important is deGoogling your phone, if every site they send you to is full of google tracking. You can break away from the controlling infrastructure (Google, Twitter, Facebook…), or you can submit to them and use them. Choose one. Gael Duval chooses both, and sells snake oil. Be like Ghandi. Don’t pretend. Truly break free!

I hope users on this forum understand that /e/ is not a cult or a religion. We are not asking users to follow or mold their life in the image of Gaël. In case any one thinks every single line of code or article published by /e/ is written by Gaël then he / she has no idea how an organization works. The /e/ team has a large number of contributors who write and publish articles and posts. Gaël does a high level review and does set the policy which the team works upon.
He has said a number of times in his posts that /e/ is not a revolution but an evolution. Which means we are trying to wean ourselves away from the clutches of the Googles, whatsapp and Facebooks of the world. This is no sermon from the mount where the users are being told what to do…we the /e/ team and that includes Gaël are also trying to stop using these modes of social media.
Let us also not forget that the core source code of /e/ or LOS from which we forked , comes from Google - AOSP. We still have MicroG needed to use the ‘unsafe’ apps of this world. If we had wanted a revolution we would have written the OS code from scratch.
W/e/ have set a pace a timeline and a vision for ourselves and we intent to achieve it with the limited resources at our disposal. All I can say is if you find a better alternative to /e/ please use it by all means.

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My thoughts exactly @Manoj

:+1: :+1:

If that’s really your opinion, I wonder why you’re still around here :wink:

@bitemich good point… I actually had no idea how the site was setup. Yeah it’s a little disappointing…
We’re getting off topic though… We all really could do without Fbook at all!!!

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