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Originally published April 17 2015

Facebook blasts cancer patient with funeral home advertisements - more privacy invasions to come

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) In the modern, text-heavy vernacular, consider it an "OMG" moment.

Facebook is at it again, using its advertisement targeting software to commit one of the most heinous acts of callousness you could think of. More on that in a moment.

First, some background. According to Mike Kreiger at the Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, in February he reported on a very disturbing finding by Salim Varani, who he wrote on his own personal blog that Facebook was, essentially, a privacy nightmare.

Varani said a number of changes to "privacy policy" made by the social media giant earlier this year do nothing to actually provide users with "privacy," but rather just opposite:

It's not just what Facebook is saying it'll take from you and do with your information, it's all the things it's not saying, and doing anyway because of the loopholes they create for themselves in their Terms of Service and how simply they go back on their word. We don't even need to click "I agree" anymore. They just change the privacy policy and by staying on Facebook, you agree. Oopsy!

Facebook doesn't keep any of your data safe or anonymous, no matter how much you lock down your privacy settings. Those are all a decoy.

Quite simply, there IS no privacy on Facebook

Specifically, he noted, Facebook routinely commits extremely serious privacy breaches, which include the selling of your product endorsements to advertisers and politicians, to tracking everything you read online, and then using data from your "friends" to learn more about you. "They have no 'off' switch," Varani writes.

Facebook provides personal data to "third parties" via use of apps, but then say the user is responsible for providing the information, not Facebook. So, every time a user engages an app on the Facebook platform, they are allowing the social media site to escape their own privacy policies with the user and the user's friends.

What's more, Varani writes, this isn't just his opinion.

"As I dug in, I discovered all the spying Facebook does -- which I double-checked with articles from big reputable news sources and academic studies that were heavily scrutinized," he wrote.

For instance:

-- Facebook has, and continues to create, false endorsements for products that ostensibly come from the user to his/her friends, but the site never reveals it has done so.

-- Whenever a user hits the "like" button on a page, Facebook's software records and then tracks the fact the user is reading that particular page. Also, the software scans keywords on the page and then associates them with the user to create a profile. "It knows [how] much time you spend on different sites and topics" as well, says Varani.

-- Facebook software reads private messages as well as the contents of links that are supposedly sent to friends privately.

-- The social media giant has introduced features that turn on a user's computer microphone; based on Facebook's track record of constantly changing privacy settings, that means audio surveillance is likely to happen without a user's knowledge.

-- Face-recognition technology is also being employed, to track users via pictures of them posted on various Facebook pages - and even those that are not posted on Facebook. Understand that pictures taken with cell phones have time, date and GPS location data embedded in them.

-- Facebook has even used snitching campaigns to trick a user's friends into revealing information the user had chosen to keep private.

Callous, yes, but really invasive

How extreme can this violation of privacy become? Britain's Daily Mail provides the answer:

A cancer patient who searched online for support about his disease was left horrified when Facebook began placing advertisement for funeral directors on his Facebook feed.

Daniel Kapp, 46, was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month. Shortly after he used the web to learn more about the illness.

When he opened Facebook the following day he said he was 'bombarded' with 'insensitive' promotions that he couldn't remove.

For his part, Varani advises any Facebook user to get off of the social media site - and to take their family members with them.

The good news is there are social media alternatives., Diaspora and Startpage are all safer options because those sites simply do not share information, track users or provide data to any third parties for any reason.


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