Tuesday, November 29

How to see everything Facebook knows about you

To say that Facebook is a popular social networking service is certainly to downplay everything that it really is. Facebook is a global corporation that offers advertising and commercial products. The everyday user logs in to see their friends, family, and funny memes, while rarely considering what information this company collects about them.

Facebook is no stranger to questionable privacy practices. In 2018, the company was subject to a scandal known as the Cambridge Analytica settlements; the company was also part of a massive data breach and even had to pay the FTC $ 5 billion for consumer privacy breaches.

Once the news broke, there was an increase in searches on how to delete a Facebook account and people looking for ways to have more control of their Facebook data and what the site knows about it. Fortunately, the company made it possible for users to learn more about their information, and we explain how to do that below. You can also find out if you or your friends were victims of the Cambridge Analytica scandal using this online tool.

However, keep in mind that there really is a disturbing amount of information. Some people have even noticed that Facebook has been tracking all calls and texts made with your mobile phone, many without realizing it. If you want to take control of your privacy while continuing to use the platform, we will teach you everything you need to know in this article.

How intrusive is Facebook?

There is a joke that Facebook is listening to your conversations outside of the application. Many users have stated that they have had a conversation and Facebook then presents an ad related to that conversation. The founder strongly disputes this rumor, but Facebook’s tracking algorithms are so good they almost seem true.

So what information does Facebook collect and how do they use it?

Activity outside of Facebook

Activity outside of Facebook is Facebook’s way of tracking your shopping and travel habits. According to Facebook, when you search for something online or even go to a physical store to make a purchase, that company shares your information with Facebook. Once Facebook receives this information, the company uses it to send more personalized ads to its News Feed.

Apps and web activity

According to the privacy policy of the company, Facebook will collect information about your online activity and also about your friend’s online activity. This means that even if you deactivate or delete your account, the information that Facebook collected from your friends will remain.

This permission is especially useful for you, as a user, because you can quickly log into most websites, applications, and even store your game progress in some cases.

Other information included in this category is as follows:

  • Your contacts: to help find “people you may know”
  • Networks and connections: who and how interacts with others.
  • Transactions and use: how you use Facebook and its affiliated companies (WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.)
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Device Information

This includes everything from your location to your IP address and even battery life. Once you’ve downloaded Facebook or logged into a web browser, Facebook has access to where you are and what type of device you are using.

To help better detect bots, Facebook can even track mouse movements while using the platform.

Any information you provide

Facebook stores everything from posts to interests, events, and profile information. If you have included your political or religious views on Facebook, the company is tracking and storing that information.

How to see what data Facebook is tracking

There are many ways to see what information Facebook tracks and stores about you. Fortunately, the mobile app makes it really easy to see what’s being stored and, in some cases, how Facebook got the data. So, let’s start with the easiest method first.

Please note that all these instructions will appear following the Three-line menu icon> Settings route in the mobile app.

How to see your activity outside of Facebook

We’ll start by showing you which apps Facebook is collecting information about you from. Open the Settings in the Facebook application and follow these steps:

  1. Scroll down in Settings until Activity outside of Facebook option under the Your Facebook information Vault.
  2. Tap on Manage your activity outside of Facebook.
  3. A new page will appear where you can see each source of information. Touch one for more information.
  4. After tapping on one of the sources on the list, you will see what tools Facebook used to collect the data, the number of interactions received, and how the company is using this information.

If you think this is too invasive, you can delete all the history outside of Facebook from your account by clicking on the Clear story option shown in step 2 above. But keep in mind that this may affect some of your login information and game progress depending on the app.

You can also prohibit the individual application from communicating your personal information by following these steps. Tap on the Disable future activity from … option to prevent an individual source from communicating with Facebook about their activity outside of Facebook.

Access your Facebook information

Your ‘Facebook Information’ is a broad term for various pieces of information that the company has about you. Some are pretty standard things, like your Facebook posts and friends. Other elements in this section are a bit more intriguing. We’ll see:

  1. Go to Settings in your Facebook account. Then tap Access your information under the heading Your Facebook Information.
  2. You will then see a page with quite a few categories. You can click on any of these to access links to the information that is stored about you. For our example, we will tap on Registered information.
  3. Scroll through the list of options for more information.
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Although it takes some time to go through each category and each subcategory, Facebook really makes it easy to see what the company is collecting and how. But there are other methods as well.

Download your information from Facebook:

Another option, a longer term option, is to download all your information from Facebook to a device of your choice. So if you still want to see everything Facebook knows about you with just a couple of clicks and a little patience, here’s how:

Click the down arrow on your Facebook account and head to Settings & Privacy, then Settings.

On the left side, click Your Facebook info.

Click View next to Download your information.

On the next page, click Create file.

Click Available Copies and then Download again.

You will be asked to enter your password.

The file comes as .zip, so make sure you have something capable of unzipping it; both OS X and Windows 10 handle this without the need for additional software.

You can now navigate through a set of web page-like information stores. For example, index.htm is an archived version of your Facebook profile, which includes past relationships, jobs, and educational institutions. You can see every photo you’ve uploaded along with all the EXIF ​​data Facebook has – that is, where and when it was taken and even where it was uploaded. You can even see all the people you’ve stopped being friends with, sorry guys.

In fact, Facebook has kept track of all the events you’ve attended, the videos uploaded, the locations and devices you’ve signed in from, the messages you’ve sent, the images it collects for facial recognition, and even the advertising themes you think you prefer. be served.

Download Facebook data from a mobile device

It may be easier to download your Facebook data to a mobile device. To do this, follow these steps:

Open the Facebook application and touch the three horizontal lines to access Settings. (All three lines may be in the upper left or right corner depending on your operating system.)

Tap on ‘Download your information from Facebook‘located under the Your Facebook information section.

Uncheck any information you are not interested in downloading and select the date and file type. Tap ‘Create a file‘when you’re ready to download.

How to control what Facebook knows about you

If you are concerned about the information Facebook has about you, you can completely close your account (but be careful, your photos, friends, and even your logins will be lost). Facebook claims that if a user closes their account, all information collected from that account is deleted.

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The exception to this is that Facebook will still have some of your information, thanks to your friends and connections.

Another way to control what Facebook collects your information is by taking into account your activity on the site. As stated above, Facebook will keep track of everything you post or put on your profile, the groups you join, or even the events you attend.

You can control how advertisers use your data by visiting your account settings and selecting ‘Ad Settings. You can toggle the available options from ‘Let‘ for ‘Not allowed.

This likely means that you will receive random advertisements that do not apply to you, but if you have a privacy mindset, doing these things is a good start to regain control of your personal information.

Frequent questions

Protecting your privacy is of the utmost importance. In case we didn’t cover everything you wanted to know about Facebook activities, we have the answers to more of your questions.

What does Facebook do with the data it tracks?

As you can see, Facebook keeps track of a large amount of personal data and information. Most of this information is used for marketing purposes. Facebook collects information about what you buy, what your friends buy, the groups you join (to see your interests) and then shows you ads that the company thinks you might like.

Facebook also uses the information it collects to add features and functions to the platform that could make the user experience even better. Whenever Facebook makes a new update and changes the interface, this is the result of the data collected about how users interact with the application or the website.

Facebook also collects data about things that you or your friends post. For example, the company uses facial recognition to better keep track of its photos and videos. This is one of the reasons you may see tagging suggestions when you upload a photo. Like many other Facebook features, you can disable it by going to the Settings> Face recognition selections and tapping the option to turn it off.

Is there a list of everything Facebook collects about its users?

Yes. Facebook is transparent about the information the company collects and maintains about its users. You can visit the Facebook privacy policy by clicking this link, or you can access it by tapping Data policy at the bottom of the Settings page in the mobile app.


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