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Facebook’s New Internal Document Says Its Engineers Have ‘Zero Clue’ Where Users’ Data Goes

During the early start of 2022, we came across a new internal document by Meta’s Facebook speaking about a few concerns that engineers had. And one striking statement had to do with how so many engineers working for the firm had no idea where users’ data went.

Similarly, they were very vocal about how they didn’t know what Facebook was doing with the information either and that really sounded alarm bells for many around the world.

The information was made public after a court hearing was carried out in March of 2022, where two engineers confirmed the news mentioned in the leaked document. They also added how discovering the answers to such questions could really take a lot of teamwork because it’s not a simple task.

The tone observed was very bold and blunt, with the men adding how they would be surprised if anyone could break down that question and figure out what the right answer to it was. There was also a special mention of how data usually gets collected via the app’s subsystems as reported by media outlet The Intercept.

This particular hearing became part of a long lawsuit where Facebook was requested to provide an array of internal documents to better explain its case and answer these questions. See, the whole goal had to do with figuring out where exactly personal data was going and if subsystems were involved, how long, and for what purposes was this data stored.

But the engineers who took part in March’s hearing deeply struggled with the questions. It was a shocker for plenty as basic facts weren’t put out in the open because no one had an answer. How is Facebook employing such an open culture in terms of both software and its development systems?

Thankfully, there was some mention of the SDK being involved and its backend but that’s about it. Questions were raised about a possible data diagram and if it did indeed exist. On that note, one of the engineers did comment on how Facebook employs some of the most bizarre tactics in the world of engineering culture. There aren’t too many artifacts produced and you’ll usually see the code serving as a document.

But all in all, what we could understand is that the entire episode is quite terrifying and not one that many users would want to hear about a leading app in our daily lives.

On the other hand, we did hear about Meta’s spokesperson adding some details linked to how its systems are very sophisticated and intricately designed. They claim to be adding state-of-the-art privacy features that keep users’ data safe while highlighting different mechanisms for data control across the platform.

But as far as privacy experts are concerned, they are definitely not convinced by the types of responses received. In fact, such reports are rather damning and beyond shocking.

To have billions of data belonging to Facebook users get absorbed into a system that no one knows about is just plain worrying. And the concept of a drop of ink falling into a lake is the perfect way to picture it.


H/T: Vice

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