The Markup: Each Facebook User is Monitored by Thousands of Companies 

January 17, 2024

“This type of tracking which occurs entirely outside of the user’s view is just so far outside of what people expect when they use the internet,” Caitriona Fitzgerald, Deputy Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told The Markup in an interview. Fitzgerald said that while users are likely aware that Meta knows what they are doing while they are on Facebook and Instagram, “they don’t expect Meta to know what stores they walk into or what news articles they’re reading or every site they visit online.” 


Fitzgerald echoed these recommendations, saying the problem lies with the fact that the burden is on the consumer to take action to prevent this data collection. Even a “global opt-out” mechanism allowing users to avoid having their data shared is not enough because “that still requires the user to take an action to protect their privacy. A lot of people are not going to have the time or knowledge to do that,” said Fitzgerald. 

Vazquez, Meta’s spokesperson, said the company would “continue to invest in data minimization technologies to keep up with evolving expectations. As we cover in our terms, businesses are responsible for getting permission to share people’s information with companies like ours.” 

For now, the lack of a federal privacy law leaves consumers in most states with few options. “I think people should be encouraging their elected officials to pass privacy laws that require businesses to change some of these business practices to stop this ubiquitous tracking of our every click and every movement,” said Fitzgerald. 

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