What Facebook knows about you?
Sometimes it’s enough that you enter “hamster food” once in Google and for the next two weeks you will probably see ads of products for hamsters on every website. At this point, most websites collect information about us that may be useful to advertisers to personalise the adverts. In regards to the recent scandal of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, many people have realised that Facebook collects a lot of data. Data which we did not even realise they have. Which data and how to check it?
Our advertising preferences on Facebook resemble a psychological test, of which you are not sure if you want to know the results.
Go to your Facebook (you can do it from both the application and the PC), go to Settings, then Ads / Advertising Preferences. Here you can check how you were “profiled”.
In the beginning, you can see your interests (according to Facebook). After entering your interests, the ones that are the most popular will appear at the top of the list, but there are more of them, assigned to specific categories (e.g. People, Hobbies and Interests, Technology, Shopping and fashion, Other). These include Emma Watson or swimming, but also deers, memes, feminism, and desserts. If you’re a person who cares about better-targeted ads, you can delete individual interests that you think do not suit you. You can also delete them all, but it will probably take a while.
Ads you clicked
Here you can find interesting information – in addition to saving what ads you click, you will also find out which advertisers are following you and displaying ads because you have visited their site. Especially if they use a technology provided by Facebook (e.g. Pixel). It also means that if you have used a service that Facebook owns (e.g. Instagram) this information will also be shown here. You can clean up and remove some or all of the advertisers, but only after blocking the tracking tools you will have a better chance of escaping from the ads (more on this later in the article).
Perhaps you do not share publicly or just for your friends some information like where and when you were born or your education, which means that advertisers will not see it either – but they can still get some more out of you. After entering the Your data tab, see which data from your profile are shared further and will be able to see in which “categories” you are placed. Here you can see data like what operating system and phone model you use, whether you usually login via Wi-Fi or data transfer, or live close / far away from your family. Cool, yeah?
Of course, the data can be deleted – it does not mean, however, that you will not be fitted automatically in other categories…
Here you can withdraw the permission to advertise products based on data downloaded outside of Facebook or based on Facebook products used outside of Facebook (e.g. Pixel).
You can also turn off what irritates me personally, e.g. ads related to your activity. Do you remember these advertisements ” your friend has liked the site”? You can disable it so that anyone will not be able to see that you like or recommend the site.
Would you like to buy a cat?
Interesting fact: if you do not want to see specific ads on your board, you can suggest topics that you want to avoid in the Hide Ad Topics tab. The three categories to choose are alcohol, parenting and pets (analysis of why pets will leave our readers – give your ideas in the comments).
Smudge thinks that your advertising choices are really regrettable.
If you are worried that once all your photos, messages, data are going to disappear from Facebook, you can always download a copy (and by the way check what data, deleted or not, are still in the copy). All you have to do is enter the Settings and the Your Facebook page tab and download a copy.
How to protect your data?
First of all: Think before publishing! Not everything should land on social media and nothing disappears from the web, despite how much you would like it.
As for the ads: install few extensions to your browser which will allow you to peacefully surf the web without any ads. We strongly recommend Ghostery – this extension blocks all ads and tracking on the websites.
After installing it, you can test on your favourite websites, how many and what trackers are installed on them. Other AdBlock or Fair AdBlocker ad blockers are also very helpful. And if you need a temporary solution such as when looking for a birthday present for a person who uses the same device just for the time of searching, use the incognito browsing.
Do you have other tricks to protect your data on Facebook and beyond? Share them with us, we will gladly add them to our list 🙂