48,000 companies sent Facebook data on a single person

A Facebook logo surrounded by blue dots and white squiggles.
Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

Facebook gets data on individual users from many thousands of companies, and a new study (PDF) from Consumer Reports tried to put more exact numbers on it.

Researchers found that, on average, Facebook received data from 2,230 different companies for each of the 709 volunteers. One extreme example showed that “nearly 48,000 different companies were found in the data of a single volunteer.” In total, Facebook data archives showed that 186,892 companies had provided data on all of the study’s participants.

Volunteers recruited with help from The Markup pulled their personal data from Facebook using its Download Your Information tool and shared it with the researchers.

Image: Consumer Reports

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