The North Face Led a Campaign Against Facebook 

The North Face Led a Campaign Against Facebook 

Advertisers can’t quit Facebook. OnJune 19, with the seemingly bold claim “We’re in,” outdoors brand The North Face lent powerful corporate backing to the Stop Hate for Profit movement.

OnJune 19, with the seemingly bold claim “We’re in,” outdoors brand The North Face lent powerful corporate backing to the Stop Hate for Profit movement.

Except there’s a problem. Instead of “We’re in!,” The North Face’s tweet perhaps should have read, “We’re in! Kinda!”

Stop Hate for Profit calls on advertisers to boycott Facebook, in response to the rampant “hate and misinformation across Facebook’s products, which are supported by paid advertisements.”

Although The North Face and hundreds of other brands are indeed pausing their Facebook advertising campaigns, they’re still handing Facebook millions of data points about their customers every single day.

Facebook Cannot Separate Itself from the Hate It Spreads

The social network doesn’t just ‘hold a mirror up to society’— it does something much more powerful and concerning

In January 2020, Facebook quietly released a new feature called Off-Facebook Activity that allows consumers to see any personal data that third-party companies have shared with the platform. Companies often send this data in order to better target Facebook ads to their own customers, both on Facebook and on other websites.

Facebook makes this data accessible, if you’re willing to dig through the deluge. In a recent piece, I delved into the Off-Facebook Activity data the company has collected about me. More than 1,000 companies were gathering data about everything I did online, and sharing it freely with Facebook. This was happening entirely without my knowledge. The data shared included pages I viewed on many prominent websites, purchases I made through services like DoorDash, and every time I loaded certain apps on my phone.

One of the companies sharing data with Facebook, it turns out, is The North Face. And although they say they’ve stopped placing ads on Facebook, as of mid-July they were still sending copious amounts of customer data Facebook’s way. The North Face did not respond to a request for comment.

Many companies’ own online systems are now so intricately linked to Facebook’s platform that it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.

What data, exactly, is The North Face sending to Facebook? Details of every interaction you have with the brand.

Using a data logger, I visited The North Face’s website. From my first click, they started to track my activities and sent frequent updates to Facebook. When I landed on the page, The North Face informed Facebook I was there, and where I had come from (in this case, a Google search). As I browsed around the site, The North Face sent Facebook data on every product I saw — even ones I didn’t click.

Do I need a “women’s lightweight ball cap” in pink? No, but Facebook knows that I viewed it.

I found the cheapest item that I could — a $10.80 blue hat. When I added it to my cart, The North Face immediately pinged Facebook with the details of the hat, as well as its cost.

facebook data advertising technology privacy data analysisa

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