Facebook is currently embroiled in a major scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, the data mining firm that sought to influence the U.S. Presidential election by using millions of Facebook users’ personal data. But there is another controversy involving Facebook and users’ private information that has largely flown under the radar. A new report indicates that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may be using the social media platform to identify, monitor and locate immigrants.
Finding immigrants through Facebook
The report comes from online new source The Intercept. According to its findings, in its anti-immigration quest. The agency has apparently used the platform heavily ever since the inception of the Trump administration’s harsh policies against undocumented immigrants.
In one example, ICE examined backend data to figure out when a suspect had last accessed Facebook. Then, it uncovered the IP address that corresponded to the login. Combined with basic phone records, ICE agents were able to pinpoint the user’s precise location.
Much of the data that the agency apparently relies on is accessible to anyone who has a Facebook page. In other cases, Facebook supplied private information at ICE’s request. The social media company insisted that it provides information to ICE only when the agency has valid legal process. It denies providing data to assist ICE in enforcing immigration policies.
Staying private on Facebook
- Nonetheless, there are a few important tips that can help undocumented immigrants Facebook.
- Examine your page’s privacy settings. Select the settings that provide the most privacy.
- Allow only you or your Facebook friends to see your posts.
- Do not post sensitive information about your or anyone else’s immigration status.
- Remove any superfluous personal information from your “About” section.
- If you have posted your phone number, email address or other contact information, delete it from your page.
- Do not identify your location in posts.