Facebook's intrusive data collection practices are not hidden from online users. Yet, a large number of the social media users from India are not aware of them, shows a new report by NordVPN, a virtual private network (VPN) company. The report said India was one of the countries whose residents were found to be least informed about data collection practices and the risk it poses to their privacy.
Residents from these countries were also found to be less aware of privacy centric services such proxy servers, VPN or Tor browser.
Only 44% of users in India said they were aware that Facebook collects non-user data, while 45% knew about tools that can help them stay private online.
Residents from France (63%) were found to be most aware of the company’s data collection practices followed by Sweden (57.8%), Denmark and the UK (57.7%), Canada 55.2% and Australia (55%).
The findings of the report is based on a national privacy test that is conducted by NordVPN since 2020 to assess how people in different countries understand and follow cybersecurity guidelines. The test evaluates users’ digital habits, digital privacy awareness and digital risk tolerance.
Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN explains, many people avoid Facebook because of the various data leak scandals it has been involved in the past. “Unfortunately, even if you are not an active user or don’t even have an account, your data is probably still not as private as you would expect,” he added.
According to NordVPN, Facebook can collect data from non-users through their browsing history and when friends’ upload their contact list on the platform.
Facebook can collect data on users or non-users when they visit websites that use their plugins such as like or share buttons or ads analytics tools.
Facebook’s popularity took a major hit last year when whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked Facebook’s internal documents that show that the company allowed misinformation and hate speeches to grow on its platform.
Despite creating a lot of buzz with the Metaverse launch, Facebook’s daily active users dropped for the first time in 18 years from 1.930 million in Q3 2021 to 1.929 million in Q4 2021.
India is close to implementing its data protection law soon. The revised Data Protection Bill (2019) is expected to be tabled again in Indian parliament sometime this year.