Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data "behind your back"

Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data "behind your back"

Summary: In a recent interview, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained how Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft collect data on users "behind their back" while the social network is more transparent.

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Last week, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg as well as the company's COO Sheryl Sandberg sat down with PBS broadcast journalist Charlie Rose. The interview aired earlier this week and contains many juicy details on a variety of topics.

One of the subject matters discussed was collecting data on users, which Facebook is frequently accused of. Zuckerberg explained how Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are much worse at the practice than his company is:

Mark Zuckerberg: I mean, when you're saying that we're the light, it's because, sure people have a lot of information on Facebook. But that's information that they've put into the service.

Sheryl Sandberg: Exactly.

Mark Zuckerberg: If you look at companies, whether it's Google or Yahoo or Microsoft, right, that have search engines and ad networks, they also have a huge amount of information about you. It's just that they're collecting that about you behind your back, really. And it's like you're going -- you're going around the Web, and they have cookies, and they're collecting this huge amount of information about who you are. But you never know that. And I mean, some of these companies make an effort to give you a product where --

Charlie Rose: But do you find that a bit scary?

Mark Zuckerberg: Well, I just - I think it's -- it's just less transparent --

Sheryl Sandberg: There's no light.

Mark Zuckerberg: -- than what's happening on Facebook.

Sheryl Sandberg: It's the dark.

Mark Zuckerberg: So on Facebook someone wants to --

Sheryl Sandberg: Contact.

Mark Zuckerberg: -- target say, okay, I want to -- I want to advertise -- like I'm a band, and I'm to coming to the Bay Area, I'm going to advertise to people who like a band, and they're going to -- those people only fit if they've put in that they like that band.

Charlie Rose: Right.

Mark Zuckerberg: On those other services, you can still do that kind of advertising, but you're going to find people based on what they've browsed around on the Web and the people have little or no control over the information that a company like Google or Yahoo or Microsoft has about you. And, I don't know, I think that some of those companies have made an effort to give people to give a payage that they can go see all information that the company has about them. But, I mean, very few people are actually going to go do that. So in reality I think that these companies with big ad networks are basically getting away with collecting huge amounts of information, likely way more information than people are sharing on Facebook about themselves. But I think because people can see how much information people are sharing about themselves on Facebook --

Sheryl Sandberg: Yes.

Mark Zuckerberg: it appears scarier. But in reality, you have control over every single thing that you've shared on Facebook.

Zuckerberg is walking a fine line here. Criticizing Google is nothing new: the two companies are constantly at each other's throats. The same cannot be said, however, for Yahoo and Microsoft.

Yahoo is more and more heavily relying on Facebook and has changed from downplaying the social network to leveraging it. Microsoft has a small stake in Facebook, and the two regularly work together. I'm not sure it's wise to talk down these two, especially when the point is to explain why Facebook is superior.

See also:

Topics: Google, Microsoft, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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77 comments
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  • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

    What happen, he and Ballmer fell out?
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

      @Return_of_the_jedi I agree it's clearly the message he's sending!<br>-John P. CEO at <a href="http://www.maurisource.com">maurisource</a>
      maurisource
      • M$ must be investigated by DoJ

        @maurisource
        monopolies must be kept in check!
        LlNUX Geek
      • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

        @Linux Guru Advocate - new name same fry cook - what a goof.
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

      @Return_of_the_jedi Really. They are all slimy...Z is just younger slime.
      dabbsil
      • they're all scum!

        I think dabbsil has it right. Google, Yahoo!, MSFT, LinkedIn, FB, Grouply, Oracle, SAP, GE, Siemens... all make violation of privacy a significant part of their strategy to get money. That just means that, to the extent of our abilities, they should all be shunned and shamed and prosecuted until they clean up their acts.
        Professor8
      • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

        @Professor8:
        Wouldn't it be easier if YOU stopped using their services if you don't agree with their terms? To my knowledge, none of those companies are being accused of not meeting their privacy policies intentionally. The things they collect are known things, and they use them with implicit consent when you use their services. Don't use any product by Google and you won't have to deal with their privacy policies.
        Or what you want is that they give you a service for free in exchange for nothing at all?
        herbys67
    • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

      @Return_of_the_jedi ...as if Facebook doesn't. Sounds to me like the Zucker is still stuck in the 3rd grade running around tattling on everyone just 'cause he got caught. "He did it too, did not, did so, I'm telling, go ahead and I'll unfriend you if you do, blah, blah, blah...
      dwhipple
    • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

      @Return_of_the_jedi
      Mark Zuckerber - Status: it's complicated
      herbys67
  • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

    and that's somehow scarier than not actually deleting data that you've selected to delete?.... way to deflect Mark.

    They all collect data that you'd rather not have them collect. Facebook is no different.
    Badgered
  • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

    This excerpt just makes Sandberg look exactly like what she is, a yes-man (or woman in this case).
    ztapp
    • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

      @ztapp

      Both are complete and utter TOOLS! I'd like to go a few rounds with Zuckerberg! MS, Yahoo and Google can have the rights to it and stream it free! Let's go boy!
      Rob.sharp
  • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

    Free services aren't zero cost, everybody collects data
    davidhayes
  • Oh, that's rich.

    really
    rfolden@...
  • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

    All sorts of companies have been collecting data for far longer than Facebook, it's called a "free no-obligation sweepstakes entry".
    dcnblues
    • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

      @dcnblues Yeah, except I never heard Publishers Clearing House ever ask me who my friends are, what I discuss with them, what social events we attend together, for pictures of me and my friends, for my marital status, religious affiliation, favorite books, etc. (Just to use Facebook as an example.) Further (to use Msft, Yahoo!, and Google), Publishers Clearing House never watched my every move on the Internet, tracking what sites I visit, what blogs or news articles I'm reading, what emails I receive, with subject lines, and content I communicate with my friends, colleagues, and family, etc. (gmail, Yahoo mail, hotmail)...
      zdnet@...
      • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

        So it's very simple and very clear! They ask for the information. They're NOT saying YOU HAVE TO GIVE IT... Duh
        OMatrix
  • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

    Facebook transparent. What a load of crap. If people have not figured out that all your traffic on the web is monitored by one person or another, your delusional. Maybe if your using Tor and proxies, otherwise you have no privacy. You ISP tracks your traffic. Most websites track who comes in and where they've been and what they are doing on your site. FB is constantly adding features you have to opt out of (and not announcing these features) to gather your data and sell it. Zuck and go blow winds you pompous little a$$
    gbohrn
    • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

      @gbohrn TOR and Proxies? Yeah right. That is a load of malarkey that those resources are anonymous as well. Who controls those? Do you? I don't, so I don't have the data that runs through those channels. You know who does? The people that run those services. What do they collect? Nothing? Yeah right. TOR is an experiment.
      prof.ebral
  • RE: Zuckerberg: Google, Microsoft collect data 'behind your back'

    People have to stop worrying about privacy so much, in this day and age it's pretty much dead. Laws protect these companies from divulging our information so why would we care??? People should just live their lives knowing that some of their information is out there, it's not that big a deal.
    MarcXW