Facebook has found new, far more intrusive ways to exploit your personal information. The company will now use information from your web browsing history to display tailored advertisements on its site.
Until now, Facebook’s advertising system relied on an internal profile of its members. But soon, your profile will also take into account the external websites and mobile apps that each Facebook member users. Facebook is about to know A LOT about who you are and what you’re interested in.
In an attempt to ease users’ concerns about privacy violations, Facebook is also introducing a feature called Ad Preferences, where users can edit the information Facebook has stored in its database. While the feature claims to “give users more control” over their information, the real motivation is to boost its ad revenue. The more fine tuned the information they have on users, the more relevant ads Facebook can display. If marketers know that the right audience will see their ads, they will be willing to pay Facebook more.
Facebook has been attacked by critics for its privacy-violating ways, and while it claims to be more conscientious of its users’ right to privacy, at the end of the day its goal is to make money. Facebook will continue to exploit users’ personal information.
How Facebook has tracked you in the past
Facebook has used Like buttons in the past to track users on websites outside Facebook. In March of 2013, over one year ago, we wrote a blog post about a study that found a person’s Facebook Likes to be highly accurate in predicting personal, often sensitive information, about him or her. Analyzing a person’s Facebook Likes was 88% accurate in predicting whether a man is gay or straight and 85% accurate in determining whether a person is a Democrat or Republican.
More than a year ago Facebook’s technology was intelligent enough to confidently predict the most sensitive details of your life. With the new technology it’s introducing, there will be almost nothing Facebook won’t know about you.
How to opt out
On a relatively bright note, Facebook is adopting the industry-standard Digital Advertising Alliance behavioral advertising opt-out tool, which allows you to opt out of tailored advertising from specific websites. Click here to opt out on your desktop or laptop.
It would also be a good time to opt out of tailored ads from your mobile device as well. On Android, visit Google Settings under “Accounts” and hit “Ads”. Select “Opt Out of interest-based ads’.
On iOS, visit Settings>Privacy>Advertising and activate “Limit Ad Tracking”.
While this doesn’t stop advertising, it will give you more control over the information sent back to Facebook.
What else can you do?
Abine’s free DoNotTrackMe solution has protected over 11 million global users’ browsing activity and personal information and has already blocked over 10 billion Facebook button tracking attempts.
DoNotTrackMe combines two key free features unparalleled among its competitors:
- Blocking tracking companies: DoNotTrackMe blocks over 600 companies, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter from tracking users’ behavior while surfing the web. DoNotTrackMe has blocked over a trillion trackers from recording users’ activity.
- Protecting users’ email address: Using Facebook Login tracks users’ logins across sites. Masked Emails are a fast and easy way to log in without ever being tracked: users click one button on any website to create a new disposable Masked Email to protect their email address. DoNotTrackMe already protects over 6 million emails every single day.
There is no reason to let Facebook know everywhere you go on your desktop and mobile phone, and then let them sell that information to advertisers. To prevent that, DoNotTrackMe is free for all Facebook users to protect themselves.