Facebook has all the photos you took at your girls’ weekend at the beach. That’s no surprise, because you posted them to your profile page. But Facebook has ways to get even more information about your getaway.
The company isn’t just a social network. It’s antoo, and it follows you around on the internet and in real life to find information that’ll help it tailor the ads it serves up to you. Facebook can track the websites you visited as you planned the trip. It can gather customer information shared by partners, which might include the store where you bought your sunscreen. And Facebook has similar information about all the friends who went on the trip, and it knows you were all together, because it has your location data.
Put together, that’s more revealing than any swimsuit photo.
Facebook tracks you so much that it sometimes feels like the company is eavesdropping on your conversations. In fact, many people think the social network is listening to them through the mic on their phone. Facebook has denied it does, but that hasn’t put an end to this persistent conspiracy theory. CNET conducted an informal test and didn’t find evidence suggesting.
Technical experts and privacy watchdogs agreein on you. But that shouldn’t give you comfort, they say, because Facebook’s information gathering is much more effective than spying on your conversations could ever be.
“The funny thing — well, funny in a perverse way — is that the truth is a lot scarier than the myth,” said Serge Egelman, a privacy researcher at the International Computer Science Institute.
You can’t stop Facebook from collecting data about you, even if you deactivate or fully delete your account. (That said, deleting your account will significantly decrease the data collection.) The most you can do is limit what the social network gets. Here are some tips for keeping Facebook’s mitts off your info.
Step 1: Log on, click through, opt out
First, limit the information Facebook uses to determine which ads it shows you.
You’ll want to go into your settings and then choose “Ads” from the horizontal rail on the left. Next, navigate to the section called “Your ad preferences,” and click on “Ad settings.”
Under “Ads based on data from partners,” you can decide whether to opt out of seeing ads based on data from companies that partner with Facebook. As an example, Facebook says if you allow it to use this data, “You may see ads for hotel deals if you visit travel websites.”
The next section is “Ads based on your activity on Facebook company products that you see elsewhere.” Here, you can choose whether Facebook uses specific information about you to tailor ads you see on other websites. Yes, Facebook shows you ads on pages outside of Facebook. Think of ads you see when you’re doing things like reading an article from your local newspaper or shopping on a store’s website.
The catch: Even if you opt out of everything, Facebook is still going to tailor ads using your gender, age, location and the tastes of people similar to you…….Read more>>