How to stop being tracked on Facebook
The recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal has shocked one and all! We’re all worried for how much of our personal information was released to the hackers. In this time of data breach, it is important to know how the system really works. Let’s elaborate it for you!
Have you been checking out a product on your phone and then when you are on another website, you see an ad for the same product? Yes, we’ve all been there! But have you ever wondered why this happens? Well, this is called ‘Targeted Ads’. Since most of us use Facebook the most, compared to other social media sites, we can gauge the way these ads work.
At one point, some users suggested that Facebook might somehow be listening to the user’s conversation via the microphone. But Facebook has always maintained the fact that it does not use the microphones on people’s phones to listen to conversations.
So, what’s going on, you ask? Let’s look at what happens and what you can do to stop it.
How it works:
When you visit a website, you tend to see personalized ads. These ads are put up via ad networks like Google Ads.
You may have noticed that sometimes you are asked to fill your personal information like name, email address etc. This information is packaged into a cookie and sent to your Web browser, which then stores the information for later use.
Cookies are text files in your browser that track information you’ve searched. Thus, when you visit another website, you can see personalized ads based on these cookies!
Now, when Facebook comes into picture, it gets really easy for the advertisers to track what you were doing as they can track exactly what you are doing and thinking!
While you use this app, every like, news story click, status update and every action you take on Facebook is a bit of information that the ad networks would like to know. And you would be surprised to know how much money these little pieces of information can make them!
According to research, in 2013 online tracking and targeted ads helped the internet advertisers earn a whopping $452.8 billion. And in the following year, this amount increased to $49.45 billion; that’s a 15% jump!
You as a user don’t make any money out of this but what you should be concerned about is your information being shared with shady employees or some hacker getting a hold of your details!
How to stop the tracking:
Considering the recent major Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and data breach, it is important to know how you can save your personal data from reaching hackers or being tracked!
Turn off cookies:
Whether you’re using Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer, there are options to turn off cookies.
- World’s best image recognition system
The director of applied machine learning at Facebook said the company has developed the world’s best image recognition system through billions of public photos and Instagram hashtags.
Facebook has offered AI researchers new open source tools and a new online hub called Facebook.ai to help them access the tools.
It is apparent that Facebook Inc. is taking big leaps in the world of technology and ensuring safety and privacy of user data. Their projects are very ambitious and if they succeed, Facebook will become a true giant in the internet world. Big things in technology are afoot and we are part of this revolution.
Which new features are you most excited about? Share your views with us in the comments.
Most of the websites today ask for your permission before they start saving cookies. This gives you the option to choose whether you want them to save your information or not.
Use a browser plug-in:
There are browser plugins available that you can use to save yourself from being tracked by the advertisers. For example, Mozilla launched a Firefox browser plug-in called Facebook Container, that helps you control the amount of data you want to share.
Turn off targeted ads:
To turn off targeted ads on Facebook or seeing Facebook’s ads on other sites, follow the following steps:
- Log in to Facebook
- Click settings > select ads
- Go to ‘ads based on my use of websites and apps’ setting, click ‘choose setting’
- Select ‘off’
Once this feature is off, you will still see the same number of ads on your page but the only difference will be that they won’t be targeted ads and would be less relevant to you. But this doesn’t mean that Facebook or other companies won’t be able to track you. It simply means that the information won’t be used to show you targeted ads.
All major browsers like Chrome, Firefox or Safari have the option of choosing a ‘Private Window’ or the ‘Incognito’ mode. Using this feature means your browser will ignore cookies, including ad-tracking cookies and will not record your history.
Limit site linking:
Avoid using the “login with Facebook or Google” feature on websites you visit which can further safeguard your identity from potential hackers and avoid any links to your accounts; thus, keeping your personal data secure.
In the wake of a digital scandal, do all you can to stay safe!