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#19The Division of Knowledge

The inner works of the platform is kept opaque from us, intentionally, as well as the data the company collects about us without our knowledge.

When mathematician Paul-Olivier Dehaye tried to obtain from Facebook the hidden intelligence the company collected on him (such as his Custom Audiences profile or the websites on which he had been followed by pixel tracking technology), he finally received a response that his request would be possible, but “technically” too complex.

The company jealously keeps the data it collects on us, refusing by all means possible to show it to us.

Of course, Facebook offers a service to “download your data” (for example, the “Likes,” messages and photos voluntarily given to the platform), but that is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Data points taken in isolation may seem anonymous, but it is not difficult for the company to de-anonymize them—especially when minimum intelligence can suffice to identify an individual.

How can we negotiate our privacy if we can’t even know what information the platform owns about us?