It’s no secret that Facebook tracks users across the Internet to observe their behavior, gather info and target advertising. However, a new report in The Wall Street Journal claims that Facebook’s tracking goes even further than originally thought. According to the report, Facebook uses an outside firm to monitor people’s app and website usage habits, even to the granular level of knowing how many times per day users post on Snapchat.
Facebook allegedly receives this information from Onavo Protect, an app that purports to protect your information online. (It’s worth noting that, in 2013, Facebook bought the company that created Onavo Protect.) With this data, the report claims Facebook was able to introduce Snapchat copycats to Instagram and Messenger, strengthening its own services while deliberately undercutting a competitor.
The report also notes that Google and Apple have access to similar information, though it’s unclear if those companies use it to further their own fortunes. Facebook echoed a similar point to defend itself, point out that it’s not alone in using third-party data.
“Websites and apps have used market-research services for years,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal.
Even if this kind of practice is above board, it will likely rub some users the wrong way. After all, who wants to be tracked by Facebook to such a creepily intense level?