Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Facebook - how do they know?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Mr Flibble, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Years ago I opened a facebook account (can't remember why now) with an obviously fictitious name (Fred Flintstone) and an email account that I use for miscellaneous shit like this. I think I've only ever logged on the once.

    I get emails all the time from them do you know blah blah blah?

    Just recently though the emails mention people that I do actually know. I've never told them I've got a facebook account. The thing these people have in common is that I know them from a mailing list I subscribe to. I use my real name on this list. But as far as I can remember I never gave my real name to FB. So how the fuck do they know?
  2. There's a good chance that you've been traced by that email account, possibly in combination with the site traffic data and search data that gets collected by scripts buried in web sites. They can also create a virtual identity for you based on who you associate with, which combined with everything else pretty much pins you down.
    Keeping your identity locked down from places like FaceBook is actually pretty tricky as their search people are very good at what they do. Most internet browsers, and Internet Explorer in particular, leak information like a seive making it easy to track you from across the internet. There are tools you can use that prevent those scripts from running and let you make the call as to what you want to allow but it can get annoying having to decide on a page by page basis what you will and won't let run. Quite simply, the more secure and private something is, the less usable it is.
  3. Most likely what has happened is some of these people you know used Facebook's 'find friends tool' (not actually called that).
    Essentially they give Facebook access to their email account and it reads addresses in from email messages as well as the address book. It then suggests matches to them based on registered emails and names.
    It then gives them the option to send an invite to these people.
    Is there a chance that someone on Facebook had correspondence between themselves and Fred Flintstone via email?
  4. Nah, it just doesn't add up.

    None of these people know my 'miscellanous shit' email address. They'd more than likely have my ridgy-didge email addy in their address books though. None of them know me as Fred Flintstone. FB don't have my real email addy and don't know my real name. If it was only one name I'd put it down to coincidence (but the odds must be astronomical) but three names... There's definitely something fishy goin' on.

    I use Firefox and run noscript. facebook.* is on my naughty list.
  5. There's a lot more scripts on FB than just the ones they "own". Pop open No Script some time and have a look.
    I notice there's a Facebook link at the bottom of this page. It may not have even been them that harvested the details, it could easily have been a third party site. There's a LOT of naughtiness goes on.
  6. I'm guessing at this point, but I'd say their algorithms are fairly advanced. Fred Flintstone might have one day looked at the Facebook page of Bob's TV repair shop, or liked the Starbucks page in Suburb X to get a free coffee.
    The people you know may have done something similar near those locations (uploaded a pic, looked at a page, mentioned they frequent the Starbucks) and Facebook has had a guess.
    Maybe liken this to "I ride a CB400 in Ashfield" " You wouldn't happen to know Johnno on a Ducati in Ashfield?"

    Again, guessing, but I'll have a google today and try to figure it out myself.

    On a similar note, I put Google Now on my phone and first thing it tells me is "hey, if you want to get to work by the usual time, you'd better leave soon; there's 7minutes of extra traffic on the route you usually take."
    I was gobsmacked to begin with, but the set of features I'd been using previously on the phone likely contributed to their database of my habits. I wasn't under any delusions that they weren't doing this, but it didn't bother me either. At least they're using the data to help me out rather than target their ads.
  7. one of the many good reasons NOT to be anywhere within a country mile of Facebook.....
  8. and if you DO use it to think about what you put up there and where you click the "share" and "like" buttons on other pages.

    Information is money, or as someone whose name I can't remember said, "If you're not paying for the service then you're probably the product!"
  9. I reckon you told someone you had a FB account called Fred Flintstone at some point.

    They then looked you up.
    Facebook associates their search for you, then suggests them as "people you may know".
    It then associates their friends as other "people you may know".

    Just searching for someone makes that association.

    Then voila, youre emailed about people you do actually know, all because you told one person, one time and they decided to have a look.

    Everyone must have seen friend suggestions from people they definitely don't know.... thats Facebook making these associations from other people looking for someone with your name, or email, or hobby etc
  10. There was something in the news a while back, once you logged out facebook was tracking where you went.

    Best explanation I've ever seen was from a financial perspective, about whether facebook had growth potential. What do they sell, given accounts are free? Answer is information on people as a whole (deidentified but still information) and the only way to make more money is to convince people to share more information about them or their mates

  11. Nup. Not until I wrote the orginal post. Never told nobody.

    And I have never associated my 'misc bullshit' email address with my real name anywhere.

    Like I said, all these people are from a mailing list that I subscribe to, but the email address and name that I used for FB are totally different to my (real) name and email address on that list.

    I doesn't worry me, I'm not about to start wearing a tinfoil hat or anything... I'm just curious as to how the fuck they did it.
  12. That reminds me, I haven't installed the Ghostery add-on into my new Mozilla installation yet.

    It probably doesn't stop this, but it reduces the bombardment a bit.
  13. I was using that but it interfered with so many sites that I NEED to use even when supposedly disabled on that site (uni etc) that I dropped it. Shame, since I like the idea.
  14. It's scary the number of trackers you need to block when you first switch it on. There are 10 trying to track me as I type this.
  15. 6 degrees of seperation. Were they all people you know or just a few?
  16. no doubt it has something to do with the number 37???
  17. Data mining is a specialised field these days. Amazingly powerful when used legitimately, and disturbing when it's used with malicious intent.
  18. Farcebook is creepy :cautious:

    Can I ask the OP if the device used to set up the Fred Flinstone account was the same device you normally use at it's usual location?
  19. Pretty sure I set up the account on my old PC. Getting the FB emails on my new PC, but yeah, same location, same ISP, but I don't have a permanant IP address or anything.