Take the facebook Challenge

Worried about how much data facebook is collecting on you, even on 3rd party sites, even if you’re signed out? Try this for 24 hours:

  1. Find a file named ‘hosts’ on your computer. On Mac/Linux systems, it’s under /etc/. On Windows, it used to be under System32 somewhere, but who knows now. Stash a backup copy somewhere.
  2. Add the following on a new line:     127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com
  3. Configure a web server running on your local machine.
This will forcibly redirect all calls to facebook to local. At the end of 24 hours, take a look at your web server’s access log. Every line in there is something that would have gone to facebook. Every ‘like’ button, every little banner, all those things track your movements across the web, whether you are signed in to facebook or not. You’ll marvel at how many blank rectangles appear on sites you visit.
Bonus points: At the end of the 24 hours, don’t restore your hosts file.
Please post your facebook-free experiences here.
-m

2 Responses to “Take the facebook Challenge”

  1. Andromeda http://andromedayelton.com

    Hi! Mutual friend John Murphy pointed me to this, so I tried it: http://andromedayelton.com/2011/09/a-facebook-privacy-experiment/

    Thanks. Fun.

  2. John Murphy http://johnmurphy.wordpress.com/

    36 hits in less than 24 hours, for me, for a day relatively light on websurfing. I noticed absolutely no impact on my normal browsing experience.

    I think I’ll be claiming those bonus points.

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