Facebook embeds tracking code to images uploaded by users

Twitter user Edin Jusupovic claims that the social media giant adds its own coding onto the image metadata, potentially allowing Facebook to track if the image is uploaded onto other platforms.

    2019/07/18

NSFW    MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA — A law student at the University of New England in Australia claimed on Twitter that he has found evidence that Facebook is embedding 'hidden codes" on photos shared by users on its website.

Edin Jusupovic, explained that he noticed a "structural abnormality" in the metadata of an image file.

He discovered that it contained an IPTC special instruction, which is essentially a metadata watermark that would allow Facebook to track the photo even on other platforms.

Facebook adds this to tag the image with its own coding, according to Forbes. The tags can be read later, enabling the social media giant to track ownership of the photo and use it to resolve copyright infringements.

But he also told the Australian that the data gathered could also allow Facebook to track users who aren't on their platform, identify their political party affiliation, or even build profiles on where they go shopping.

In a series of tweets, Jusupovic explained that the company could potentially use the data to identify if the same image was uploaded twice onto its platform and find out how the two users are associated with each other and the photo.

Facebook has been embroiled in a series of scandals concerning privacy on its social media platform over the past few years. The company is currently facing a record US$5 billion fine by the FTC over its Cambridge Analytica scandals, according to the BBC.

Facebook users weren't notified that their data was being shared with third-party apps such as Cambridge Analytica. The consultancy company was able harvest user data and even the data of their friends, via a personality type Facebook quiz.

Facebook has said that up to 87 million users' data was compromised because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
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