You know that Facebook tracks your data. That’s obvious. But have you ever considered what kind of data they track? Or how they track it? In the latest video from All Things Secured on the oxymoron known as “Facebook privacy”, Josh takes the time to request, download and print out his Facebook file…and there’s a lot you can learn when you see exactly what Facebook has collected.
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Data is the core of Facebook’s business model.
When you signed up for a Facebook account, the deal you made was simple: Facebook gives you a social platform and you give them your data.
If you’re looking to build Facebook privacy – or even any kind of privacy on the internet – using a social media platform is probably not the best way.
4 Ways Facebook Tracks You Online
There are four specific ways that Facebook tracks what you do, both on the platform and around the internet:
- Explicit Data: This is the information that you explicitly give to Facebook when you fill out your profile, add photos or share an update.
- Metadata: Metadata is the information you often give to Facebook without knowing it. This could be your device telling Facebook which browser you use, or the EXIF data on a photo giving away your location or the type of camera you like.
- Off-Facebook Activity: Using things like the Facebook Pixel (which is installed on over 8 million different websites), the like button, the share button or the “sign in with Facebook” button, the company is able to track what you do as you browse the internet. This information is used to retarget you with ads or to build a profile about what you like.
- 3rd-Party Data: This is the information about you that other companies give Facebook. Many companies you purchased from upload customer lists in order to advertise to you. Facebook also gathers financial data from credit reporting companies.
How to Limit What Data Facebook Collects
If you’re hoping for a bit more privacy on Facebook, there are ways that you can both limit what Facebook collects as well stop them from sharing it in certain ways.
Although I’ve already created a tutorial on how to change your Facebook privacy settings, here are six quick things you can do today to increase your privacy on Facebook.
- Delete the Facebook app on your device (you can still access the website through your browser);
- Start using a privacy-first internet browser like Firefox or Brave;
- Delete and turn off the collection of all Off-Facebook activity (this can be found in your settings);
- Create more privacy with your public profile;
- Upload your photos without EXIF data (mostly the location);
- Be stingy about the information you voluntarily give to Facebook!
Remember: you do have at least a little control of your data. In the same way that Amazon tracks what you do, so does Facebook, Google and others.
It’s up to you to build your own privacy.