Following a cloud of controversy sparked by a wave of reports about how different companies partnered with Facebook to access data, many people have started to question what sort of information Facebook collects about its users and why. 

According to a recent report by David Baser, Facebook’s Product Management Director, the company has spelled out more clearly how it collects and uses that information.

There are four instances in which Facebook receives your data from third-party websites and apps:

Social plugins – includes Facebook’s like and share buttons

Facebook login – logging into a third-party site or app via your Facebook account

Facebook analytics – allows websites and apps to understand how people use their services

Facebook ads and measurement tools – websites and apps run their ads on Facebook or vice versa

Facebook collects information including your computer’s IP address, the type of browser you’re using, the software your computer runs (Android, macOS, Windows, iOS, etc.), language, time zone and other material. Its cookies also keep track of the sites you visit, and what app you’re using.

Facebook also collects certain information when you visit or use third-party websites and apps that use Facebook Services even if you’re not currently logged in to Facebook or do not have an account. By so doing, it can target better and more relevant ads for Facebook users or show an ad encouraging those without an account to sign up for Facebook. The post further explains that the technique is similarly used by other online services like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google or Amazon to receive user data.

Facebook emphasizes that it doesn’t sell that data but only uses it to better target stories and ads, improve services, as well as security on its platform.