Most people realize that Facebook tracks what you do online so that it can serve you targeted ads. They may not like it, but they sort of accept that the price of a free social media platform is a little bit of privacy. Most people have come to accept that even though it's a little creepy that you see ads for the items you were just looking at on Amazon in your Facebook News Feed, it's not that big a deal.

What most people don't realize is just how much information Facebook collects not just about what you do on the world's largest social media site, but what you do on other websites and in the apps on your smartphone. In fact, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a privacy advocacy group, that tracking includes what you do with the Ring doorbell app for your Android device. 

Ring is owned by Amazon, which did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

According to EFF's report, the Ring app for Android sends information via Facebook's Graph.API, including "time zone, device model, language preferences, screen resolution, and a unique identifier (anon_id), which persists even when you reset the OS-level advertiser ID." In addition, the fact that Ring is sending data to Facebook is not included in the app's current privacy policy. 

As the second-largest advertising platform, Facebook's tracking code is found in many of the apps you use every day, and it is notorious for being one of the biggest culprits when it comes to collecting your personal information. That's true even if you don't use Facebook's app, or even have a Facebook account.

Still, this is likely to feel especially invasive when you consider that Ring makes products that literally keep an eye on your home. As a result, Ring's doorbell and camera devices present a particularly sensitive case for protecting your privacy. That's because most people aren't going to be super excited about the idea that Facebook might have access to the personal data captured by their Ring cameras.

Does anyone really want to think about Facebook tracking when you're home, or who visits you there? To be clear, the EFF's report doesn't claim that Facebook has access to any information other than what is listed as being captured by the API. The fact, however, that people are likely to be creeped out at the very thought is proof enough that Facebook has a problem. 

If you're concerned about what information is being collected, and how it's being used, it might be a good time for a refresher on protecting your privacy. A good place to start is by stopping apps from sending data about you and your device without your permission. The easiest way to do that is to install a VPN with tracking blockers

Then, it might be time to log in to your Facebook account and make sure your privacy settings are configured to protect your information by limiting what can be collected and shared. After all, it's becoming clearer every day that if you won't take responsibility for guarding your personal data, no one will. 

Published on: Jan 29, 2020
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