Facebook, while entertaining on its surface, can be a truly terrifying concept as one delves deeper into the enormity of the website’s data capabilities.
The widespread use of Facebook is one of the most worrisome aspects of the social media giant’s reign, with an enormous user base willing to subject themselves to any number of the site’s advertising strategies and societal experiments. The site’s absurdly large database of mostly factual user data is prime fodder for marketing magnates who are still struggling to find their foothold in these new, modern formats.
Now, a newly discovered patent filed by the social media monster has privacy advocates more concerned than ever as to what Facebook could truly be up to.
“The document explains how the company would use technology to see how your facial expressions change when you come across different types of content on the site.
“If you smiled as you looked at pictures of one of your friends, for instance, Facebook’s algorithm would take note of that and display more pictures of that friend in your News Feed.
“Another example included in the patent application explains that if you looked away from your screen when a video of a kitten played, Facebook would stop showing similar type of videos in your Feed.
“In another case, the document says that if you happened to watch an advert for scotch, Facebook could choose to target you with more adverts for scotch.”
Instead of simply tracking and logging your preferences by using website cookies, Facebook would much rather cut out the middle man and access your fragile humanity through your webcam.
Of course, the front and center concern with this patent would be Facebook’s ability to simply spy into your home, car, or workplace at any time, truly creating a scenario in which Facebook’s omnipresence could be commandeered for nefarious purposes. Whether hackers are able to use open-door access to your webcam to coordinate attacks of the cyber/financial/physical variety, or the government could force Facebook to turn your phone on in an effort to locate you, this sort of 4th Amendment-jarring freedom would be nigh unprecedented in America.
This underreported invasion of privacy will likely be buried somewhere in the “terms of service” on the site – a document so unsightly that a vast majority of users will never examine it.