How To Turn Off Facebook Tracking
Have you ever signed on to a social media platform like Facebook, noticed the advertisements on your profile, and wondered how it knows that you were thinking about booking a flight overseas or what your favourite brand of cereal is?
The answer is because Facebook knows almost everything there is to know about you; it is how it makes itself valuable. Even though Facebook is free for people to use, the company wouldn’t be worth hundreds of billions of dollars if it wasn’t able to quantify some kind of value. So, what provides that value? You’ve probably guessed correctly — the answer is information.
“Check-In” & “Likes” Are Giving Facebook FREE Info About You
What’s interesting is that most people willingly give up their information with no second thought. They “check in” to places revealing their location and travel patterns, “like” pages of the products they buy or artists they support, and fill out their profiles with all the personal information they can muster, including date and place of birth, from where and when they received their education, who is in their family, photos of each and every special or mundane occasion, and on and on and on.
That information is then categorized and bundled, placing people into weirdly specific demographics, and then that information is sold. Now when advertisers purchase the information, they can direct their messages with a greater accuracy than ever before. And it must be working since Facebook made $6.4 billion in advertising in the second quarter of 2016 alone, up 63 percent from the year before.
How To Find Out What Facebook Is Tracking?
But all of this is no secret, if you want to know what’s being targeted to you and why, you can find out. Facebook has recently updated its Ad Preferences feature, so that users can now see which companies or products are targeting them, and the list of advertisers who have your contact details. You can also see which sites or apps you’ve used by clicking through from Facebook. They’ve even added a new ad education portal to help users understand how ads are specifically targeted to you.
This education portal will tell you a lot of things, if you want to know. It will tell you that Facebook tracks your every on-site move, from what you like to what you post to what you share. But also that it tracks your every online move as long as you are logged in, even if you are browsing in a different tab or window. And that even when you’re logged off Facebook, it still tracks you each and every time you load a page that is embedded with a “like” or “share” button option. So even if you’re not willingly giving your information away, Facebook still takes it anyway.
Facebook Has 98 Data Points They Gather
Curious about what other kind of information Facebook gathers on you? There are (at least) 98 data points that the company gathers to sell to data brokers. Some of them include obvious things like your location, age, gender, ethnicity, language, relationship status, birthday, employer, job title, interests and so on.
But it also can get eerily specific and weird. Facebook also knows which users are early or late adopters of technology, who actively uses their credit card (and what type of card and whether or not a user carries a balance on it), those who use coupons and those who buy groceries (and what type), or beauty products, or beer, wine or spirits… also allergy medications, cough/cold medications, pain relief products, and over-the-counter meds.
There’s more (so much more). It knows who owns motorcycles, who plans to buy a car (and what kind and when), or if a user is going to need car parts or services, and how much they plan to spend on their next car.
Is There ANY Privacy Anymore?
The list goes on. Basically Facebook knows everything about you, and while you can opt out of receiving ads from certain companies, you can’t opt out of advertising altogether. And to Facebook’s credit, the education portal allows you to learn about how they collect data on you. But unless you deactivate and delete your account, you will be targeted, specifically and directly. It’s just the way the world is these days.