As my Twitter archive download has yet to be completed, I will be examining my Facebook archive. My Twitter is much more active, so I was hoping to use that profile, but after seeing the information that the archive produced, it doesn’t seem like that would matter a whole lot. The way this showed interactions with other people was what was the most interesting and unexpected aspect of this archive to me. After reading the NSA piece, I assumed there would be a good amount of data in regards to the people you interact with a lot since it appears that the government is able to stalk people through you based on who you know. The friends list part of the archive just listed every person you are friends with and have been friends with. There was a portion that showed who you had defriended and sent friend requests over the years, and there were some people I saw I had friended and I don’t even know who they are anymore. The list of all of your current friends was odd to me because the friends were in no easily identifiable order. There was a stupid app that was trending for a while that let you look at whose profile you looked at the most and who looked at your profile the most, and it gave you some other details about who you interacted with on Facebook, but this archive seemed to do nothing of the sort. The people at the top of the list were most certainly not my best friends. I found that odd because even though Facebook claims they don’t collect this data, if you Google the reason behind those specific friends showing up on your timeline in the friends area, most results will tell you it’s based on public interactions and profile views. The friends that show up on my timeline are almost always people I legitimately do interact with and always include at least one of my best friends. This makes sense to me that Facebook would know this kind of information, so I was surprised when the friends list did nothing to organize the members of that list.
I was also surprised by the messages portion of the archive. They were organized like the computer program that completed the archive just threw up. They were organized by person but the first message thread in the list was with someone I haven’t chatted with in months, and the next was from high school! I almost looked like it didn’t have the most recent messages because when I was reading through, the most recent messages were from January from this year and I’ve definitely used Facebook messenger more recently than that. I thought for being as large a company as Facebook with seemingly endless influence and power you would be able to find that information, but maybe some things take longer to process in the system? I’m not sure.
Before doing this post I was pretty aware of what I put online on my Facebook profile. I also know the security filters I have in place so that only my friends can seen certain things, like my phone number. I’m not surprised that Facebook is able to see everything that I upload to the site because they are the owner of the social media site. I am not especially alarmed about my own security regarding the information I myself uploaded because I knew what I was doing when I put that information on the site. What I did find a little unsettling was the ad section. There was a list of the ads that had appeared on my Facebook over the years. It said whether or not I had clicked on the ad or not which I thought was pretty weird. It just shows how money driven the site is. They want to track whether or not the ads that are paying to be on Facebook are effective in drawing in the demographic that they are targeting. I don’t necessarily like that they can see what I’m clicking on. The weird thing was though that the only ads shown were from this year. I think the ads section shows the lack of objectivity in the information. They didn’t show the ads that I didn’t click on because that wasn’t important information for Facebook to hold on to. I think it’s interesting to do an activity like this. I think it should make us more aware of our privacy settings for one, because I remember my phone number was on there but after doing this archive I went back to check that my number was on the most private setting. As mentioned in the Foreman article, I think using cookies to push ads on us that are related to things we have already viewed is something to be concerned about, and it looks like Facebook is gathering that same kind of data. It’s not like I’m going to stop using Facebook, but I don’t like thinking that they’re trying to influence what I’m buying or consuming. Of the readings we read I think the part about how invasive cookies are was the most alarming part to me.