GDPR and Shadow Profiles

What is a “Shadow Profile”?

Image: Vicky Leta / Mashable


A Shadow Profile is a set of user data held by a Social Media platform (eg Facebook or Twitter) that has been collected – even though the user did not create a profile or use the platform.

“My gosh!” I hear you cry – “How on earth could these nasty tech companies do this to people?”

Well, it’s probably YOUR fault.

It is if you have ever allowed access to your Contacts on your smartphone, or uploaded your contacts to a Social Media platform (LinkedIn springs to mind here!) on the Web.

They are dressed up as “Which of your Friends are already on [insert platform here] ?”

These tech companies now have lots of contact information associated with your user profile of people that did not ask or want to be used on Social Media. If they later create an account of their own, the platform will already know of them, who they are connected to, and suggest connections with surprising accuracy!

All thanks to you disclosing their details without asking.

What can you do to ease this? Remove access to your contacts on your phone, and delete any contact lists you have uploaded to these platforms.

Facebook and LinkedIn are notorious for their use of shadow profiles, and how it seems impossible to disconnect from them.

If you are using Facebook apps – stop now! Uninstall them and use your web browser for the main news feed, and Facebook Lite for their messaging. This reduces access to your contacts, improves battery life and generally improves your life* [* artistic licence used here 🙂 ]

See more:
TWIT.TV – Fast Forward to 17:05 and watch
Read more:
How Facebook keeps tabs on your circle of contacts

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