How Facebook Tracks You and How To Stop It

Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform with around 2.45 million monthly active users. Facebook is constantly collecting data about those users and has amassed an unimaginable amount of user data. Most people don’t understand the full extent of Facebook’s tracking capabilities and its methods for collecting user data. Our goal in this post is to give you a better understanding of how Facebook tracks you and how to minimize this tracking.

What Data Does Facebook Collect About Me?

Facebook’s privacy page gives an overview of the information it collects about you when you use the service.

Things You and Others Do and Provide

  • Information and content you provide.
  • Networks and connections.
  • Your usage.
  • Information about transactions made on (Facebook) Products.
  • Things others do and information they provide about you.

Device Information

  • Device attributes
  • Device operations
  • Identifiers
  • Device signals
  • Data from device settings
  • Network and connections
  • Cookie data

Information From Partners

Read More: 98 Things Facebook is Tracking About You and Everyone Else

Does Facebook Use Data from Other Sources to Profile Me?

Facebook’s privacy policy says that it collects things others do and information they provide about you in addition to information from “partners”. The past has indicated that Facebook is gathering information from other companies like Cambridge Analytica. Additionally, Facebook operates a number of other products including Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp which it can collect information from.

Does Facebook Track You Even If You Don’t Have an Account?

Any site that has a Facebook pixel on the page is basically tracking you. In April 2018, Newsweek reported that Facebook is tracking you online even if you don’t have an account. Facebook features like embedded “like” and “share” buttons do not distinguish if the user has a Facebook account. The company still collects information about the users that view and interact with these buttons even when they don’t have a Facebook account or aren’t logged in.

If you don’t have a Facebook account or aren’t logged in on a given device, Facebook can still use fingerprinting techniques to track you. Fingerprinting means using information about your device to determine who you are. For example, Facebook may use your device type, operating system version, screen resolution, IP address or other information to create a “data profile” about you, even if you don’t have an account.

How To Stop Facebook From Tracking You

If you’re concerned about the amount of data that Facebook could be collecting from you, these steps can help minimize that tracking.

Turn off Location Tracking on Facebook

If you have the Facebook app installed on your mobile device, you could be sharing your entire movement history with Facebook.

How To Turn Off Facebook Location Tracking in iOS:

  • Open Facebook app on your iPhone.
  • Go to Settings and Privacy. Select Settings.
  • Scroll down to the Privacy section and select the Location option.
  • Click on Location and select your preferred location setting: Only While Using the App, Always Allow, or Don’t Allow.
  • Next, you should also disable Location History if you want to keep Facebook from storing your location history.

How To Turn Off Facebook Location Tracking on Android

  • Open the Facebook app on your Android device.
  • Go to Settings and Privacy. Select Settings.
  • Scroll down to the Privacy section and select the Location option.
  • Click on Location Services to disable location tracking.
  • You should also turn off Background Location to prevent Facebook from tracking your location when you don’t have the app open.

How To Stop Facebook From Tracking My Internet Activity

Facebook uses its ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons as beacons to track your browsing activity. It then uses that information to determine your interests to target ads on its platform. Mozilla offers one of the best methods for preventing Facebook from tracking you: Facebook Container. You use it to keep your Facebook browsing isolated from any other browsing. This way if Facebook tries to use cookies to track your browsing, the cookies will be contained in the container you use for Facebook.

Another way is to use an ad or tracker blocker that can prevent Facebook tracking elements from loading on the websites you visit. One of the best tracker blocking tools you can use is Privacy Badger. Privacy Badger is an open-source browser extension for most major browsers that detects and blocks invisible trackers on the pages you visit.

Why Facebook and Other Tech Companies Aren’t Held Accountable for Privacy Practices

Companies tend to disclose which information they collect about you in confusing ways. Privacy policies are where these disclosures take place, but these documents are often pages of unclear legal jargon. It’s easy for companies to hide concerning privacy practices in these documents. Average users won’t notice the issue unless some tech publication picks up on it.

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