How to change Facebook data sharing settings


Facebook collects a large amount of data about users inside and outside the platform. How to regain your privacy:

The tech breakdown in Facebook’s priorities and whistleblower allegations have reinvigorated discussions about business ethics, including how we handle user data.

Regardless of whether the account owner is aware of it or not, Facebook’s default privacy settings allow the company to collect a large amount of personal data (all videos viewed, search history, location when signing in on the mobile device, face). You can record the look, etc.). more.

Your data is priceless

Personal data is an important part of the business behind a large social network that currently hosts 2.9 billion monthly active users.

According to the company, it doesn’t sell personally identifiable information like names and posts, but it does collect user information, organize it into unnamed profiles, and share it with advertisers targeting a narrow customer base.

According to the July 2021 revenue report, advertising accounted for $ 28.5 billion of total revenue of $ 29 billion in the second quarter of 2021.

Some of this data is voluntarily provided by the user, but the user may not know exactly how it will be used in the advertising process.

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How advertisers use your data

The default privacy settings for all Facebook accounts allow the company to share employers, job titles, academic backgrounds, and relationship status of users with advertisers, but account holders can opt out.

Next there is the “interest” that Facebook values ​​about the user. These categories are based on activity like ad clicks and page likes.

Account holders can remove certain categories of interest from their profile, but they do not have the option to opt out completely.

With the exception of ads that are considered discriminatory, advertisers can customize their campaigns based on location, demographics, interests, consumer behavior, and whether they follow the company on Facebook.

Facebook gives an example of how you can use this type of information to target online advertisements in your privacy settings.

Advertisers with advertisements on sneakers can select the interest category “running” as the target group for these advertisements or the user with the addition “personal trainer” as the profile title.

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Facebook claims that targeting ads benefits small businesses and displays content that is relevant to your interests.

“Personalized advertising helps people discover new products and brands, and helps businesses of all sizes (not just those with the biggest budgets) reach people who might be interested in what they have to offer. “I’ll do it,” said the company.

Jonathan S. Weissmann, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Computing Security, Rochester Institute of Technology, disagrees.

“Despite the fact that it’s creepy, the inherent benefit of seeing ads that might interest you is the value of your privacy and the risk of your personal information leaking out. There aren’t any, ”he said.

“There is little that Facebook doesn’t know about you,” he added.

More than a compromised online shopping habit

Research has shown that it is possible to accurately gauge other more sensitive traits of a user based on Facebook activity.

According to a 2013 study by researchers at the University of Cambridge, Facebook likes are sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, wellbeing, and addictive substances. We found that we can predict personal attributes such as usage, parental separation, age, and gender. ..

The second survey in 2015 strengthened the ability to “like” sensitive personal data. Researchers have found that computers that analyze likes are better at predicting a person’s personality than their Facebook friends.

The authors of the 2013 survey indicate that otherwise access to personal data can be harmful or dangerous.

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“Using software to infer attributes such as intelligence, sexual orientation, and political views that individuals may not want to share, including with commercial companies, government agencies, or even Facebook friends. You can, ”they write.

Just over a year after the 2013 survey was published, the New York Times said that a professor from the same lab who was familiar with the process of creating a psychological profile from likes was personalized by 87 million Facebook users. Data collection has started. A seemingly named company – “Cambridge Analytica”.

Facebook banned its researcher Aleksandr Kogan and its partners from the platform in 2018.

According to the company, personal identity information is not used for advertising.

“Advertisers can use the targeting options they offer when creating ads, including interaction-based interests on Facebook such as: B. Page likes and ad clicks, but these interests. Is not based on a person’s attributes or traits, such as religious affiliation, or is sexually oriented. “

Facebook tracks web traffic for users outside of the website

Social networks don’t just monetize data when users log on to the platform. The company also tracks internet users on millions of other websites through an advertising tool called Facebook Pixel.

The exact number of websites currently using Facebook Pixel isn’t clear, but Weissman says it’s “amazing”.

Facebook didn’t answer questions about the current number of websites using the software.

For users who are concerned that the company is tracking personal information, there are ways to regain some privacy.

How to delete stored data outside of the platform and deactivate future tracking outside of the platform:

Follow the instructions below to remove any existing off-platform activity.

  • Expand Account Settings using the arrows in the upper right corner
  • Settings and data protection
  • Data protection link
  • View or delete non-Facebook activities
  • delete history
  • delete history
  • Expand the hamburger menu in the lower right
  • Settings and data protection
  • construction
  • Activities outside of Facebook
  • delete history
  • delete history

To prevent Facebook from collecting future activity outside the platform, follow these instructions:

  • Settings and data protection
  • construction
  • advertising
  • Advertising settings
  • Ads from Facebook
  • Turn off the Allow button
  • Expand the hamburger menu in the lower right
  • Settings and data protection
  • construction
  • Activities outside of Facebook
  • More options
  • Manage future activities
  • Manage future activities
  • Turn off the “Future Facebook Activity” button


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