I don’t think Facebook understands the word ‘privacy’

They’d probably fail the vocabulary section of the SAT.

Many students have no choice about working with the College Board, the company that administers the SAT test and Advanced Placement exams. Part of that relationship involves a long history of privacy issues. Tests by Gizmodo found if you use some of the handy tools promoted by College Board’s website, the organization sends details about your SAT scores, GPA, and other data to Facebook, TikTok, and a variety of companies.

Gizmodo observed the College Board’s website sharing data with Facebook and TikTok when a user fills in information about their GPA and SAT scores. When this reporter used the College Board’s search filtering tools to find colleges that might accept a student with a C+ grade-point average and a SAT score of 420 out of 1600, the site let the social media companies know. Whether a student is acing their tests or struggling, Facebook and TikTok get the details.

No one should be surprised that Facebook and TikTok are stealing their users information. No one should be surprised that the College Board is pulling this crap, too. It’s cute that they were flat out caught lying.

“We do not share SAT scores or GPAs with Facebook or TikTok, and any other third parties using pixel or cookies,” said a College Board spokesperson. “In fact, we do not send any personally identifiable information (PII) through our pixels on the site. In addition, we do not use SAT scores or GPAs for any targeting.”

After receiving this comment, Gizmodo shared a screenshot of the College Board sending GPAs and SAT scores to TikTok using a pixel. The spokesperson then acknowledged that the College Board’s website actually does share this data.

Yeah, that’s the College Board all over the place. They’re a for-profit company(it claims to be a non-profit, but keep in mind the CEO makes over a million dollars a year) founded during the era of eugenics on the lie that a standardized test can be used to quantify the intelligence and ability of young people.


  1. says

    “I misspoke when I said we didn’t share any data with Facebook or other third parties,” said a College Board spokesperson. “What our lawyer says I meant to say is we do share data, but only to enrich the online experience of our users or some shit like that.”

  2. says

    Privacy? PZ pointed out one important tip of the huge iceberg. Surveillance and spying are ubiquitous in society. Ring cameras capture pedestrians, etc. and law enforcement gets the info on a whim. Websites try to track you wherever you go. Many stores use cameras and facial recognition on everyone who enters. There is a lot more going on. Georgia law makes them make the names of the grand jurors public and the Qanon rtwing terrorists have posted their addresses and other personal info online and made violent threats. ‘NSA Orders Employees to Spy on the World “With Dignity and Respect”’ an article by Ken Klippenstein, on The Intercept
    The info on all this invasion of privacy is available from many reputable sites.

  3. says

    Did Fluckerborg EVER care about privacy? I remember hearing that he’d said out loud, at least once, that everyone wanted all their information to be shared freely by all, and that’s what Facebook has always been about.

  4. robro says

    I’m appreciate that I’m an exception on this issue, but I’m not concerned about my personal identity being online. Being recognized makes certain tasks easier. And I have spam filters to deal with some of the fallout.

    What does concern me is someone making a profit off my information and not sharing the proceeds with me in any way.

    It also concerns me that we don’t have any say in this. While I might not care, I know many people do but can’t protect their identity…like my partner.

    That’s unless you’re rich. I suspect that very rich people are able to manipulate their online personal info to suite their needs, including even eliminating it if they want to disappear. That inequality really galls me.

  5. says

    A lot of “not for profit” companies are careful to break even by buying their executives cars and apartments and giving them huge salaries, also collecting art and real estate. I found out about this when visiting one “not for profit” corporate HQ that was full of extremely valuable art. Apparently the art sits on the wall until it’s depreciated off the books, then the executives buy it for $1. [loophole since closed]

  6. says

    I suspect that very rich people are able to manipulate their online personal info to suite their needs, including even eliminating it if they want to disappear.

    Imagine if you could afford a new burner phone every year and your chief of staff would tell your inner circle’s chiefs of staff your new phone number when it changed. Imagine if you did most of your browsing via the burner – and you had IT staff who could set up adblocks and password vaults for you.
    I used to know a billionaire’s IT security person. Their whole job was sanitizing his internet experience. Imagine having your own email server with a barracuda spam firewall and a person who personally monitored your inbox for scams, etc.
    That is typical.

  7. raven says

    Facebook also completely failed with their Twitter (now X) competitor, Threads.
    I wasn’t even going to look anyway, since it is Facebook and I refuse to have a Facebook account.

    The issues are so basic that one has to conclude Threads was designed by an idiot.
    .1. There is no reason to read Threads.
    Lack of relevant content.
    I only ended up at Twitter following links from news headlines.
    .2. Mobile only, no desktop version?
    Really dumb. More people than not use desktops for using the internet.

    It should have been easy to set up a Twitter clone and take over from Twitter.
    After all, Musk is systematically destroying Twitter and a huge number of people don’t like Musk at all.
    Not impressed with Zuckerberg or Facebook here.

    Time August 17, 2023

    Twitter’s Rival Threads Is Already Unraveling
    BY ANDREW R. CHOW deleted for length

    Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter clone Threads rode a screaming missile out of the gate. Within seven hours of its July 5 launch, 10 million people joined the social media app, the Meta CEO claimed. Threads became the most downloaded non-game app on a launch day in the past decade, according to the market intelligence data provider Sensor Tower, and raced past 100 million users. It appeared that Zuckerberg, the once-and-future king of social media, had launched a legitimate challenge to Twitter’s dominance in the midst of ongoing turmoil at the Elon Musk-owned company.

    Exactly six weeks later, Threads is fading fast. After peaking at around 50 million daily active users on Android devices worldwide in early July, that number has steadily declined and is now hovering around 10 million, according to the digital intelligence platform Similarweb. That’s less than a tenth of X’s usership.

    Threads’ failure to maintain its early momentum is indicative of both design flaws and larger network effects, experts say.
    It didn’t help that Threads started out as mobile-only, with no desktop version.

    Threads also crucially lacked a hashtag or search function, nor did it have a discover page—all core parts of X’s functionality. Many people use X to follow along with current events, whether it be Donald Trump’s indictments or the Women’s World Cup. Without those topic-based anchors, it often felt like people on Threads were having completely unrelated conversations with each other.

  8. billseymour says

    David Brin has suggested many times on his blog that it’s hopeless to try to avoid surveillance; but he has a solution which he calls souveillance, basically just ordinary folk looking back at the powerful.  One example which we’re seeing already is videos of police brutality from bystanders’ cell phones.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Sure they do: privacy (n)(obs): barrier to exploitable data resources; easily circumvented by subterfuge and ego-lingus

  10. Larry says

    When this Organization categorically stated that “We do not share SAT scores or GPAs with Facebook or TikTok, and any other third parties using pixel or cookies,”, we mis-spoke. What we meant to say was that we, in fact, do share SAT scores with both Facebook and TikTok, and, with any other third parties that pay us and that we have been doing so continuously and without a second thought for some time. Furthermore, we have no plans to stop. Bite us!

    We are sorry for your confusion. Have a nice day.

  11. John Morales says

    Bill, David Brin is a bit of a wooist, in my estimation. I’ve followed his blog for a few years now, and the way I see it is that, as a political analyst, he is a good SF writer.

    (Also, ‘sousveillance’ is the term he uses, not souveillance)

  12. John Morales says

    No biggie, Bill. Still, that was not my main point — it was a parenthetical aside.

    The sentiment is basically a bit of “if you can’t beat them, join them” and a bit of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”.

    I reckon it’s a simplistic take on the asymmetry at hand.

    (Yes, all parties have all info, but who has agency?)

  13. John Morales says

    In passing, this was on Australian news recently:


    The unintended takeaway is that charities are engaging third parties to collect donations. That is, leaving aside with whom the responsibility for the breach might lie, donors pay a third party which then forwards part of it to the charities, and that’s all aboveboard. Normal, even.

    Oh, right, pullquotes (basically, that data was supposed to be transient):

    The Cancer Council, Canteen and Fred Hollows Foundation have confirmed donor information has been published on the dark web.

    The Fred Hollows Foundation said 1,700 of its donors were affected, and claimed the data had been held without the charity’s knowledge.

    In a statement, the charity said it was “deeply disappointed”.

    “We worked with Pareto Phone only during 2013 and 2014. We were not aware our data was still held by them.

    “Under the Australian Privacy Principles, there is a requirement for personal information data to be destroyed or de-identified once it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected.


    In a statement on Wednesday morning, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it had not engaged the third-party fundraiser since 2018.

    “Under the Australian Privacy Principles, organisations must take reasonable steps to destroy personal information data that is no longer required.

    “MSF has not worked with Pareto Phone for almost five years.


  14. says

    @5 No, the loophole was not closed. It’s now better camouflaged and requires some paperwork dance moves. But it’s still there.

    I also slightly disagree with PZ’s take on the origins of standardized testing. It was largely a way for private boarding schools to self-congratulatorily demonstrate how much better their students were than public schools, and therefore justify students below the top of the class at, say, Choate† being granted non-legacy-admit competitive admissions over the top students from any urban/suburban public school, let alone overall-wearing students from rural schools in downstate Illinois or eastern Oregon. That is, it was class warfare; the racism was just a bonus. The kind of test was and remains one seldom, if ever, encountered in “normal” schooling. Go ahead, find a high-school multiple-choice test that embeds a guessing penalty… and especially a partial penalty that has bad math behind it. Those who could afford time off and tuition fees for outside courses had and continue to have a big advantage over those whose after-school shift at a fast food place is the difference between poor family diet and starvation, or is being saved for college because there won’t be any family contribution (notwithstanding the mandatory family contribution calculated in the financial aid system).

    † Example chosen with malice aforethought. The most-famous graduate was, umm, not the brightest crayon in the box. Or his family.

  15. says

    @3 Raging Bee said: Did Fluckerborg EVER care about privacy?
    I reply: somewhere in my archives I have an article showing how suckerberg started Farcebook as a way to shame and embarrass an ex-girlfriend. That, along with his pronouncements over the years, tells me a lot about his (lack of) moral character and complete lack of concern for others. O.K. students, can you spell sociopath?

  16. John Morales says

    shermanj, heh. One does not go to a social media site for privacy.

    That’s the very point of it!