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What Can Be Done about Facebook Tracking


Facebook has attracted the wrath of technology pundits for their controversial privacy policies on more than one occasion. Using their massive consumer appeal to their advantage the social networking giant has frequently drafted terms of use that suit their business model and often overlooks their user’ privacy. The company’s creepy new digital tracking initiative is another controversial move by the Palo Alto giant that has flooded several Internet forums with criticism.

What is Facebook’s Digital Tracking Initiative?

Ads are the single largest source of revenue for Facebook. With digital tracking the company claims that it gets the necessary data to improve location-based or consumer-based ads thus further confusing the already vague terms of service. In a nutshell it means Facebook is “following” you through various apps present on your smartphone.

Though Facebook’s massive user-base loves to voice concern about its constantly shifting 9,000-word privacy policy, not many are willing to part ways with the de facto social media giant that unites their family and friends under one roof.

Keeping that in mind here are a few measures users can take to enhance privacy settings:

Optimize Ad Visibility

Facebook does not charge a consumer for using its services neither does it sell personal data. However, the company earned $7 per member in the last fiscal. It does that by giving marketers access to its users without disclosing their identity.

Though it is not possible to toggle ads on and off; one can prevent Facebook from presenting specific ads. To do that simply click on the tiny corner icon on an ad and then “Why am I seeing this?” link from the pop-up menu. You’ll then be explained why Facebook considers the ad to be a good match for you.

Underneath there is a link titled “View and manage your ad preferences”. Clicking it will take you to a record of sorts that Facebook keeps about you. Here you can remove items present in the link and tell Facebook to show you less but more useful ads. The entire exercise doesn’t just benefit the user but also Facebook as it now knows exactly what kind of products and services the user is interested in. It’s a win-win for both.

Disable Location Tracking on Smartphones

Smartphones can collect a lot more information than personal computers. The Facebook app accesses location tracking features to inform friends when you’re in the vicinity. Furthermore, it can listen to the music playing in the background and mention it in a post.

Disabling location tracking will prevent the Facebook app from knowing your location and sending you ads. To turn off the feature on the iPhone version of the app go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services and then toggle it off. Similarly usage of app data can also be restricted but this would require modifying settings of the phone instead of the app. On an iPhone go to Settings -> Privacy -> Advertising and then turn on Limit Ad Tracking.

On an Android device go to Phone Settings -> Accounts -> Google -> Ads and then simply click on “Opt out of interest-based ads.”


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