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Facebook continues to collect data even after account deactivation

Everyone who has deactivated his own account and felt so sure about the collection of his own data, was wrong.

Especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many users gave up Facebook, at least temporarily. According to a study by Pew Research, 42% of American users took a break from the platform in the course of last year. If a user wants to delete their Facebook account, it will be deactivated for an initial period of 30 days. During this period, users have the opportunity to reactivate their account at any time, should they change their mind. And that's Facebook's assumption, because as we know from a CNET report, the platform continues to track its (former) users as long as the account is disabled. So that they can then immediately place tailor-made ads again.

The fact that deactivated accounts continue to be actively tracked is not explicitly listed

According to the company's own information, deactivating the account contributes to privacy. However, Facebook, at CNET's request, is referring to privacy vis-à-vis other users, because the profile is hidden from other users, but not from Facebook. In the data guidelines, Facebook bypasses the issue and merely states that deactivating the account temporarily terminates the use of Facebook products. The fact that deactivated users are also tracked as if they were still online is not mentioned anywhere. Gabriel Weinstein, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo, is concerned about CNET: "Most people would expect less or no data collection during a deactivated period."

Depending on how much turmoil the report causes, Facebook might be expected to add a sentence in the data policy regarding this point. It is unlikely that they will stop collecting information about users even if their account is disabled. In the same sense, Samsung caused frustration among users a few months ago. On some mobile devices, it is not possible to completely uninstall the Facebook app, which caused users to question how much of their data would still be collected after deactivation. Also the complete deletion of the account is no way out.

We are not really surprised by this discovery, since Facebook also tracks Internet users who are logged out or have no profile at all. Data about the behaviour of users is also collected, via Facebook pixels or the share button, which can be found on millions of Internet pages, in order to display suitable advertisements on Facebook. Internet users are therefore never really safe from the platform's data-collecting network.

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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