Headline-Visual: What is… The Facebook Data Importer
polypoly Cooperative
2022-02-02

This Whole Data Thing

Admittedly, this whole data thing is difficult – and terribly confusing. There is so much data out there: data we know about; data we do not know about; data we created ourselves (consciously or unconsciously); data that others created about us; data that seems to be irrelevant; data that is clearly sensitive... and so on. But just because it is difficult, does not mean we should not worry, understand and care about that data.

What some people may misunderstand is that we don't want to prohibit social media, all the associated platforms, messengers and other tools, on the contrary. We have a very positive and, above all, open attitude toward all of this – we really like digitisation. Our main concern is how private, personal data is handled – and that's exactly what we want to change. To do that however, we first have to understand what exactly is happening with our data.

That is why polypoly exists and that is why our latest polyPod feature, the Facebook Data Importer, makes this difficult topic a little more accessible. 

The Facebook Data Importer in a Nutshell

Thanks to GDPR we as users in Europe have the right to reclaim our data so that we can understand what a company like Facebook, or now Meta, knows about us and shares about us. But so far users had only two ways of looking at their Facebook data:

  • As an active and logged-in user inside of the editorial context of Facebook and
  • Outside of Facebook in the form of many downloaded and rather cryptic data files.

What the polyPod adds now is another context to explore, evaluate and understand that data and, in the future, another place and model to make use of one's own data.

The Facebook Data Importer has two levels:

  1. As the name says it is importing data.
  2. It is presenting that data in a more comprehensible way to its owner.

The current release of the Facebook Data Importer brings your Facebook data into the polyPod, analyses some interesting parts locally on your device, and presents and explains that data and the implications it might have to you. You might find your activities, your messages, context on what Facebook might be able to do with your data (e.g. if you include photos – and if you would also like to know what just a handful of photos of you can do on the Internet, feel free to read our article about so-called "deep fakes") and you can also take a deeper look at the advertising that Facebook is all about. The feature also shows you so-called advertising interests that Facebook assigned to you, apps and services that report your activities outside of Facebook back to the social network and it also compares those reports to the advertising activities of the same companies in your timeline. That's quite a lot of what Facebook alone does with your data. 

Layer by Layer

One could argue, that parts of what the feature shows can also be seen inside of Facebook. And that might be true, but we don't want you to only „download some data“, but make it comprehensible and understandable. Our aim is to present users with a less biased, more critical view of that data independent from the social network. We spend significant research and development time in understanding and explaining the details, potential consequences, and also highlighting some interesting correlations to you, in other words: Showing you more of what Facebook knows about you but does not tell you about.

This is just the Beginning. The first version of the Facebook Data Importer. In the coming months we will provide more of those hidden stories. This is merely the first layer to be explored. Soon you will be able to pierce through layer by layer and discover the truly disturbing details behind the use of your personal data. We are currently working on this at full speed, you can be sure about this one.

And in 2022 we will also add importers for other data sets, making this difficult world of data visible and more understandable to you. So, you might be interested in what Google could know about you? The worlds largest search engine in which you type in literally everything you want to know more about? Well, that may take one or another by real surprise. Stay tuned and start exploring your digital twin (YouTube-Link) – with the Facebook Data Importer as a new feature of the polyPod.