Two tools that teach you how incredibly creepy Facebook is

Two tools that teach you how incredibly creepy Facebook is

Two tools that can help you do that — at least when it comes to your Facebook data — are Data Selfie and Stalkscan. Stalkscan is a web-based tool that lets you search for information a Facebook user has shared publicly. De Ceukelaire believes that privacy blog posts and articles "only reach the intellectual, educated community" who are already interested in privacy. For Regina Flores Mir and Hang Do Thi Duc, the motive for creating Data Selfie lies beyond safeguarding online privacy — they want to give users an idea of how Facebook potentially interprets their data and packages it to advertisers. Unlike Stalkscan, which tracks publicly shared content, Data Selfie only tracks your Facebook usage from the time you install the extension. But they want users to be aware of the data Facebook is tracking and more importantly what it's used to infer. What these tools are good for Stalkscan is mostly good for reminding you about content you shared that you might have forgotten about, while Data Selfie shows you how those activities could be interpreted about you as a person (although it's worth keeping in mind Facebook advertisers really only see this data once it's aggregated and anonymized). By seeing what is already public through Stalkscan, you can adjust your privacy settings so that certain information will only be visible to you. Likewise, if you want to be aware of how your digital footprints could be presented to advertisers, or track how long you spend browsing through someone's profile each week, using Data Selfie can be very helpful. Flores Mir strongly believes that in the age of the internet, it's important to be aware of how things work and do as much as you can to control your data.

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Image: brittany herbert/mashable

If you’re a Facebook user, by now you probably know that every “like” and piece of information gets aggregated into a set of anonymized data, which eventually turns into advertising dollars for the social media giant.

Facebook offers multiple layers of privacy settings so the world doesn’t have to see every cringeworthy photo your mom uploaded and tagged you in. Still, changing those settings can be pretty time-consuming. Trust us, we get it.

But as mass surveillance and digital privacy becomes more of a prevalent threat, you might want to know, at the very least, what information about you is public. Two tools that can help you do that — at least when it comes to your Facebook data — are Data Selfie and Stalkscan.

Stalking yourself

Data Selfie is a browser extension that analyzes what your Facebook usage says about your personality — like your political views, interests, and causes you care about. Stalkscan is a web-based tool that lets you search for information a Facebook user has shared publicly. For example, if you went to a diner on the south side of Albuquerque for Christmas in 2010 and checked in on Facebook, someone could easily find that out through Stalkscan.

Image: Stalkscan/screenshot

Inti De Ceukelaire, the brains behind Stalkscan, said in an email that while most people are aware of privacy dangers on the internet, many won’t take active steps to safeguard themselves. De Ceukelaire believes that privacy blog posts and articles “only reach the intellectual, educated community” who are already interested in privacy.

“I want to reach the man on the street that simply has no clue about privacy in general,” he…

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