Did Facebook shadow profile you?

Yes, but it’s your friends' fault!

Did Facebook shadow profile you? /img/facebook-shadow-profiles.jpg

“Shadow profile” is the common name for information about you that Facebook collected and stores without your explicit knowledge or consent. Even if you’ve never used Facebook yourself.

For example, even if you have never signed up for Facebook or WhatsApp, which is little more than Facebook, just dumber, you are in the address book of all your friends who do, and that’s just one of many ways in which Facebook can and did build a “shadow profile” of you.


  • “Facebook’s data protection tools mostly serve to distract users from the more aggressive data collection happening behind the scenes” (2).
  • “Even when people knowingly share their thoughts online through comments or likes, their traces can affect real live events such as recruiting decisions due to the surveillance conducted by employers."

Last but not least…

Sadly, the shadow profiles issue is nothing new. It’s just something that is wrongly, unexcusably ignored by the first people who create it, that is all users of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and similar services (*): the problem is not that “if the service is free, YOU are the product”. That could be not a big issue, after all.

The problem is, and has always been, that if the service is free, your friends are the product, thanks to YOU.

(*) speaking of “similar services…

The owners of Amazon Ring create basically the same problem). And even services like Fitbit basically create other kinds of “shadow profiles” that can be used AGAINST you.

To know more:

  1. What Are Facebook Shadow Profiles?
  2. “Can someone who does not have a Facebook account opt out of data collection?"
  3. “Shadow profiles negative influences”