Tori Spelling has my contact info. (And other revelations from my personal Facebook data.)

What does my world look like through the lens of Facebook?

I used the Facebook download tool to find out. The amount of data they’ve collected about me is impressive. It includes every status update I’ve ever made, every photo I’ve ever shared, every ad I’ve clicked on, every friend I’ve “friended” and “unfriended,” every device I’ve used to connect to Facebook, every word of every message. I’ve got to hand it to Facebook for thoroughness.

I am thankful that some of the photos and videos have been saved, somewhere.  Anywhere. I had forgotten about some of them and to see them all in one place was fun. It was like re-visiting those moments in my life. I guess that’s what makes Facebook so sticky for so many.

Surprisingly, most of the ad topics that are archived are a reasonable compilation of brands that that I might be interested in. Well done, Facebook!

One head-scratcher is the number of advertisers who are listed in the “Advertisers who have uploaded a contact list with your info” file. As Brien Chen wrote recently in The New York Times: “…there was a section titled ‘Advertisers with your contact info,’ followed by a list of roughly 500 brands, the overwhelming majority of which I had never interacted with.” 1

For me, the puzzling list of the over 500 brands that now have my contact info include everything from Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations to Americans for Prosperity – (Nebraska, Illinois & Tennessee chapters) to Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. Even Tori Spelling has my contact info!

How do I feel about the privacy of my data? One of the things that worries me was outlined in another New York Times article that explained: “(Facebook) not only harvests the data you share with the platform, but also collects information about you from the files of other Facebook users you know.”2

Digging deeper into Facebook’s data policy I found this: “…we don’t share information that personally identifies you (information such as your name or email address that by itself can be used to contact you or identifies who you are) unless you give us permission.”3

Does that mean when I agree to Facebook’s “Terms of use” I gave them permission? That’s worrisome.

Screen Shot 2018-04-28 at 11.40.57 PMAOL New Privacy and Terms.png

The entire media industry is feeling the heat from Facebook’s privacy debacle. Many social media sites are rushing to announce new data policies and privacy protections. They are saying they want to be more “transparent” about what they do with our personal data. If they don’t act swiftly and convincingly, they may find the government getting involved.

Truthfully, I’m afraid that without an act of Congress to force social media sites to change, the public will continue to happily publish personal information for all to see—unwittingly making ourselves the product. And Facebook and their advertisers will continue to exploit us.

In the meantime, I’m waiting for Tori to contact me.


1Chen, B. (2018, April 11). I Downloaded the Information that Facebook Has on Me. Yikes. New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from

2Porter, E. (2018, April 17). Facebook is Creepy. And Valuable. Retrieved April 28, 2018, from

3 Facebook Data Policy. (2018, April 19). Retrieved April 28, 2018, from


Author: DigiDan

Hi, I'm Dan. I live in Stamford Ct, and work in New York City. I am the father of two very creative kids, both graduates from Syracuse, and the husband to an amazing woman who is going back to school as I am. I work as a creative director and copywriter at a NYC advertising agency and have lived over 4 years of my life onboard MetroNorth, the commuter train that goes into New York (that's 2 hours/day, 5 day/week, 50 weeks/year, for 28 years - Do the Math!). In my spare time, I love playing music, piano mostly, and I spend inordinate amounts of time at my health club. That's enough for'll get to know me more from my posts!

One thought on “Tori Spelling has my contact info. (And other revelations from my personal Facebook data.)”

  1. Here here! Companies can’t be expected to self-regulate, especially when those regulations would hamstring a booming business model. In spite of the good Facebook does – I’m pretty sure they provide free internet access in countries where otherwise there would be no internet access – they are not a charity. They exist to turn a profit. That’s their job. It’s Congress’s job to make sure average citizens don’t get harmed in the process – maybe a tall order though for a bunch a folks still trying to find their Dell desktop’s “on” switch.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s