December 16, 2013
Facebook knows pretty much everything about you — and that includes when you type out posts but decide not to hit “enter.”
But before you freak out too much, know that Facebook isn’t saving the text of these would-be posts (at least not yet). For now, Facebook is merely tracking more general trends related to these unpublished thoughts — or, as Facebook calls it, “self-censorship.”
Sauvik Das, a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon and summer software engineer intern at Facebook, and Adam Kramer, a Facebook data scientist, shared insights into how the social network monitors these posts in a recent paper, Slate reports. Their study, available in full online, collects data from 5 million English-speaking Facebook users, focusing on status updates, posts on other people’s timelines, and comments on posts. Anything you type — even if you don’t hit “post” — becomes metadata that gets sent back to Facebook.