With its unrivaled status as the largest social media platform in the world, with hundreds of millions of daily users. Facebook is a data behemoth. Due to its privileged position, Facebook collects myriads of data from its users. Especially personally identifiable information (PII). Facebook collects sensitive information from its users such as passwords, gender, age, location, sites visited, and user preferences.
Beyond these, Facebook tracks users across websites. With the huge user base of Facebook, it collects vast amounts of users’ data that it uses for targeted adverts. The data Facebook collects is sold to digital advertisers and marketers to provide targeted ads to users. The bulk of Facebook’s revenue comes through advertising.
Hence, the company has a vested interest in collecting users’ data, tracking them across websites, and building profiles of users. The vast amount of data collected by Facebook and the fact that it has suffered massive cyber attacks and privacy breaches have prompted Facebook users to demand accountability and calls for privacy protections. This has made it all the more important with the Cambridge Analytica scandal which involved Facebook. To assuage concerns, Facebook has introduced a number of features to enhance privacy. Below we examine how Facebook tracks users and how to stop it.
As users browse through Facebook, send messages, and post pictures and videos, their location is constantly collected. Their preferences and habits are collected in order to, according to Facebook, enhance the user’s experience. These data could pose security problems to users if it falls into wrong hands. Fortunately, Facebook has provided a means for its users to review settings and modify privacy settings. This feature is the off-Facebook activity feature.
The off-Facebook activity tool helps Facebook users to review and delete data about them when they are using other websites. It also enables you to stop your off-Facebook activity from being saved with your account and to download the data and analyze it. Off-Facebook activity includes all the information that apps, websites, and organizations share with Facebook. To get started: open your Facebook on your phone, you will see a notification symbol, and click on “manage settings.” Toggle background location to off.
Select your Facebook information and click the option for off-Facebook activity. Facebook will then display the names of sites that have shared your activity, and inform you about how it got access to that kind of information. From there, clear all browsing history and turn off any future activity on your account. Later, you can then control this function for all apps and websites so that they can no longer share your search activity with Facebook.
Once a user clears the activity managed by the off-Facebook tool, Facebook will remove the users identifying information that websites and apps share. This prevents Facebook from tracking your digital movement and won’t know which sites you visit and targeted ads based on this information will be significantly reduced.
Going further, to control ads you see or don’t see on the Facebook platform, go to settings on your computer or phone and click on “preferences.” Under “advertisers and businesses”, you can see which advertisers have run advertisements using a list uploaded to Facebook containing your personal details. To stop adverts from a company or companies click on “don’t allow” after selecting the company.
This stops you from seeing ads from advertisers when they make use of a list from the selected company. Also, you can go to ad settings and turn off ads based on data from partners. Ads include social actions and ads based on your Facebook activity on a company’s products or services you come across somewhere else. But this won’t delete the data already held and you are still going to see the same number of advertisements.
The off-Facebook feature is the simplest way to remove your data accumulated by Facebook. For iPhone users who have upgraded to iOS 14.5, a new feature known as App Tracking Transparency requires them to give permission for apps including Facebook before they can use their data for targeted ads. If you want to flag a website as inappropriate content or misuse of your personal details, scroll to the bottom of the activity details screen and click on “Give Feedback about this activity link”. Then select a reason for the Feedback and click send. To clear your entire Facebook history, go back to the off-Facebook activity page and clear the history button at the top.
In conclusion, while taking the steps and actions discussed above may not necessarily stop Facebook from tracking you, they will limit Facebook’s ability to track and keep your data across websites. To further ensure your privacy and security, consider getting apps that offer ultimate privacy protections. For instance, a privacy app like Hoody can help you keep your privacy through its groundbreaking technologies of Phantom Browsing™ & Bulletproof Privacy Network (BPN). Hoody’s Phantom Browsing™ tech ensures the user is anonymous and fingerprints on the browser whereas Hoody’s Bulletproof Privacy Network (BPN) encrypts your data and anonymizes your IP address through multiple relays.