Article Lead Image

Screengrab via Data X/Vimeo

This incredible tool lets you see how Facebook tracks you online

You may be surprised what you find.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Feb 17, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 11:41 pm CDT

A browser extension shows you how Facebook infers what content you want to see based on your social media habits and behaviors.   

Data Selfie is a free Chrome extension that shows you how Facebook uses machine learning algorithms to offer you a personalized experience catered to your wants and needs.

Once downloaded, the app monitors your Facebook interactions and learns your social media patterns—what you look at, how long you look at it, what you like, what you click on, and whatever you type—before adding natural language processing and machine learning techniques from IBM Watson and the University of Cambridge.

All of your habits are mapped on a simple color-coded dashboard that breaks down your usage by time and activity. The algorithms then predict things like your political affiliation or eating and shopping habits based on comments and messages you’ve typed.

This may all sound a bit frightening, but rest assured, no one else will see this data (only the robots). Data Selfie keeps all of the information it collects locally on your own computer.

The code for this transparency tool is available on Github if you want to play around with stocking yourself. 

H/T The Next Web

Share this article
*First Published: Feb 17, 2017, 12:43 pm CST