Since 2008, Facebook has been under fire because of its data collecting habits, and each time the company claimed to take up the “responsibility to protect user information.”
The social media giant promised it would “do better,” but a review of patents filed by Facebook reveals how the company wants to track every aspect of our lives: your identity, who you are close with, relationship status, your political and religious views, etc.
According to New York Times, Facebooks has filed patents to use the front-facing cameras to read users’ expressions and determine whether you liked the content displayed on your feed.
The company also wants to track your socioeconomic status, how many hours of sleep you get, and it has even attempted to predict when your friends will die!
Even though Facebook says that its patent applications do not necessarily exhibit its future product plans, but altogether they expose the company’s incessant hunger for collecting users’ personal information and find ways to monetize it.
Facebooks’ creepy patents
Despite the promises made by Mark Zuckerberg, these seven Facebook patent applications unveil company’s plans to amass and exploit your personal information:
1. Profiling your relationship status
This patent analyzes data like how many times you check out another user’s profile or the number of persons in your profile picture to predict where you are involved in a romantic relationship.
2. Categorizing based on your personality
One patent suggests the use of personal messages and posts to analyze personality traits. By determining the extent of extroversion, your emotional stability and thought process, it could target you with news stories or ads you might like.
3. Predicting your future
This patent application proposes using your messages and posts along with credit card transactions and location to predict occurrences of major life events like birth, death or graduation.
4. Identifying your camera
Another patent suggests analyzing of photographs to establish a unique camera “signature” based on faulty pixels or scratches on the lens. This signature could be used to find out who have uploaded pictures clicked by your device.
5. Eavesdropping on you
This one aims to use phone’s microphone to listen and identify which TV shows you watch and ads you mute.
6. Tracking your daily routine
This one is really creepy and dangerous as it suggests monitoring your weekly routine and notifying other users in case of any deviations from the routine – how to make stalking easy 101. Moreover, it proposes using phone’s location at midnight to track the exact place where you live.
7. Using location service to establish a pattern
This patent describes using your phone location as well as your friends’ to determine whom you are closest to and where you hang out. Also, it suggests monitoring phone to track how many hours of sleep you get.
It is a known fact that companies file patents to beat their competitors in technologies, even if they may never see the light of the day. The same could be applied to some of Facebook’s patents since advertising is crucial for the company’s business model.
However, we should be wary of such rampant data collections as we now know that it could be used for more than targeted advertising like manipulating election results and users’ emotions too.