As they say: “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product“, Facebook apparently isn’t an exception here.
You probably already know that most Facebook revenue is coming from ads, it allows you to use its services for free in exchange to track you and gather more information about you in order to build a “digital profile” that can be used in order to target you with relevant ads.
What is probably not very known to many people, is that Facebook can still track you even if you don’t have a Facebook account or even when you’re not using Facebook at all! When you’re browsing a website, information such as device type, location, clicks and the way you browsed that particular website have been recorded, cookies are heavily used to achieve that as well as other technologies, this information is then sent to advertising companies such as Google and Facebook.
Not only websites, but also mobile apps can gather your information and send it to Mr. F thanks to the SDK that can be used while building mobile apps. Facebook has recently introduced a new feature allowing its users to see where the site gets information about them on the internet, and as a way to be more transparent, it also allows them to “disconnect” that data from their Facebook account and this is where most people gets confused.
“Disconnect” doesn’t mean that Facebook will stop tracking your activities outside its app or website, instead, it means that information gathered won’t be matched against your account, pretty much useless if you ask me.
What I am worried about isn’t the tracking activities or information gathered, if you’re an old Facebook user (you don’t have to be too old) then chances are you already know that Facebook’s reputation when it comes to user’s privacy and data protection isn’t that great (looking at you, Cambridge Analytica), what worries me more is the fact that off-Facebook activity option has been enabled without users knowledge, there wasn’t a single communication about this subject, most regular users won’t even notice not even to mention that disabling the option will require changing settings that most users don’t even know.
If that’s telling me anything, it tells me that Facebook is getting greedier than ever, I am personally no longer a frequent user after Cambridge Analytica scandal, but still hate to see companies as big as FB treating their users as peace of information without giving a damn to their privacy.
Below is a quick QA to avoid confusions:
Q: does FB app/website know my passwords ?
A: No, Facebook does not have access to your passwords
Q: If I disable the “off-Facebook activity” option, will FB stop tracking me and sending me advertisements ?
A: No, as mentioned above, “disconnecting” doesn’t stop FB receiving data about you. It only anonymizes the data and prevents it from showing adverts based on your Internet activity outside of Facebook.
Q: How can I disable off-Facebook activity ?
A: Using a desktop, click the top arrow at the top right of your screen and select Settings. Then select Your Facebook Information and then Off Facebook Activity. You’ll then see an option on the left to Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity and an option to Clear History.
On the mobile app, click the three horizontal lined icon and then click Settings & Privacy. Then Settings. Then scroll down to Off-Facebook Activity.
Q: How to see apps and websites sending analytics data to FB ?
A: As described above, navigate to where the option is, you’ll be able to see third-party apps/websites that send information about you.
Facebook off-activity: https://web.facebook.com/off-facebook-activity
How to stop FB ebook from tracking you on Firefox: https://www.howtogeek.com/662575/how-to-stop-facebook-from-tracking-you-in-firefox/
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