Stop! Before You Post on Facebook


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Facebook tracks you by browsing historyHow careful are you about what you share on Facebook and other social networks? Probably not very. But in light of a new initiative Facebook is launching, you may want to give more thought to what you post on the social web.

Under Facebook’s new program, select data-analysis companies will be able to harvest the vast quantities of content that Facebook’s 1 billion-plus users produce. The real beneficiaries will be those data companies’ clients – large consumer brands like Procter & Gamble, ConAgra, General Mills and others.

As Advertising Age describes, Facebook (by way of a company called DataSift) will give its data partners access to a treasure trove of user data.

A data-analysis firm working with P&G, for example, could filter for posts that include a keyword like “toothpaste”. The analysis company could then see demographic data on the people posting about toothpaste, the specific brands or products that were mentioned, and the sentiment of the posts.

No individually identifiable information will be provided to Facebook’s data partners, and only public or shared posts will be scraped.

Still, the ultimate goal of the program is to help large businesses advertise more effectively on Facebook. That raises the question: Do you want your Facebook posts to be used as part of a big brand’s advertising program?

If the answer is no, there are a few things you can do to keep your information more private.

Share less

It’s simple: the less you post to Facebook, the less there is for analytics companies to see. And because this new Facebook initiative is focused on brand-specific conversations, you can keep yourself off the radar by not talking about companies or products.

Opt out of interest-based advertising

Interest-based ads are the kind that seem to “know” a lot about you – what kind of beer you prefer, or what types of cars you may be in the market for. You can visit this website – a project of the Digital Advertising Alliance industry group – to opt out of interest-based ads in your web browser.

Note that this process sets cookies in your browser, so running a cookie-erasing program like CCleaner will wipe your opt-out request.

Block social sharing trackers

Here’s what social sharing buttons can look like:

2They’re quite common – just one social-sharing provider, AddThis, has its buttons on more than 13 million websites. But did you know that social-sharing buttons use tracking technology to record your web browsing activity on behalf of social networks?

Plus, social trackers can use sneaky tech like canvas fingerprinting (which, unlike cookies, can’t be deleted easily).

Good news, though: Blur will completely block AddThis and other social-sharing trackers. You don’t even need to do anything: Simply install Blur in your favorite browser. It’ll begin blocking trackers immediately and keep track of how many trackers you’ve blocked.

Facebook may only be getting less private – but you can fight back!

9 Replies to “Stop! Before You Post on Facebook”

  1. Elmar says:

    Please sign a petition stop companies such,, people, and etc. The link is below:

  2. Ben Jones says:

    Thank you for these important points. Privacy is becoming more important every day on the Internet. We must be more sensitive to this issue, particularly social media sites such as facebook.

  3. i think, this is article so very good. but, what you have tutorial to take a social media share?

  4. Marlyn R, says:

    I almost NEVER post to Facebook anymore. It isn’t worth my time or effort just to end up plagued with dozens of total strangers offering to ‘friend’ me every time I log on. Why do so many people base their worth on how many ‘friends’ they have & get all bent out of shape when someone ‘defriends’ them.

    I asked my staff one day how many of them had ever met their [hundreds of ]Facebook ‘friends’ in person (other than family) or had sat down to eat, gone shopping, etc. I then asked them to bring in a list of the names of friends by the end of the week. Then day after they submitted the names I gave them back their lists & said, “OK…test time. Next to each name, write down the city in which they live, their birthday, spouse name (if any), pet name, family members, church or temple…ANY personal data you recall. Put down hair color, height, eyes, favorite foods, movies…whatever.

    Out of 468 names only 37 had ANY personal data written next to them. Some ‘friends’.

    I ESPECIALLY hate Facebook since their new policy of deleting ALL accounts using unless you provide absolute proof of being you. I tried explaining to them I wanted an account with ZERO personal data & you’d think I’d spit on the flag!

    I tried an experiment. I set up 2 identical accounts – except for the name. The non-Blur account I put a picture of a stuffed animal & called myself Ms. Mata Hari & I lived in Uzbeskistan & hated my daily commute to Detroit. I had green hair & was just 42” tall. My favorite food? Butter. My favorite color? Transparent & so on. The Blur one I put MY photo & REAL name, education & books read, (Not all of them…I’ve put away over 17,000!) Within 2 days the opayq account was shut down & I was told until I provided proof I was a ‘real’ person it would remain so!

    I then posted tons of really dumb crap to the remaining account. I even put down the opening verses of Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’ BACKWARDS! I’ve written of being stolen by Martians, beaten by the CIA, telling people to try the fried slugs diet…you name it…but Facebook’s happy; that account’s been up n running for over 3 mos! BUT 3 other accounts I’ve tried to set up using opayq,com have been rejected, Not one lasted a week! Dropbox is another one that refuses opayq accounts as ‘suspicious’.

    I do caution EVERYONE who reads this to be VERY CAREFUL what you post to Facebook! As a Director of Nursing I’ve refused to hire dozens of people based on their social media pages. Knock! Knock! Who would hire an idiot who posted a pic of herself throwing up in the toilet surrounded by empty vodka bottles? Or a guy posing with a crack pipe in hand? My personal favorite was the applicant whose Facebook page showed all the stuff he ripped off from his previous employer! DUH!!! ( I think d’Wayne’s STILL can’t get a job & can’t figure out WHY, even though I told him!)

    Or those who post ‘cute’ pics of their little kids – or themselves (mostly) naked, or of their new diamonds, etc.? My sister’s a detective & says crooks LOVE Facebook, in fact the last 4 child abusers they caught all started tracking their prey through social media! It’s gotten to where the cops in every city have a social media detective. You’d be shocked how many morons brag about their crimes online thinking the cops are too dumb to look!v A double homicide was recently solved that way when the idiot posted a pic of him, the gun & the loot.

    What’s REALLY dumb is how people happily give up their most private info simply because a faceless, nameless stranger asks. One woman a week ago was stiffed for $800,000 because a guy she was ‘seeing’ (never met him except online) claimed he’d gotten ill in some African country & needed the cash! I’ve counseled girls as young as 11 (!) who sent NUDE pics to some lecher posing as a kid their age who saw them online & chatted them up. Every day in the news we hear of yet another (idiot) who sent nude pics & is now being blackmailed by the other party, (Pay me or these go online at your [school, church, etc.]

    I have yet to figure out what the big attraction is for folks when it comes to Facebook (or any social media site except Linked-in) Think of the millions of hours wasted online, the useless photos nobody gives a hoot about, all the dumb chatter by people who can’t construct a sentence – or get through one without at least 1 4-letter word, etc. ad nauseum. Why do so many think these people actually care about them? If they died tomorrow, would any of these ‘friends’ care? Would they even notice the person was gone? Nope. They’ll just go on to the next ‘friend’ & continue to worry about if they have enough ‘friends’ to matter.

    Pretty d*mn sad, isn’t it.

    • porcupinetta says:

      I started a Facebook page to follow a friend who moved to France, see pictures of her kids etc. Somehow I ended up with like 80 friends. Does anyone know if there is way to remove your account and delete you existence from Facebook?

  5. Junior says:

    Marilyn –

    Thanks for this excellent description. Wonderfully well put! I could only hope to be in care of the kind of nurses you would hire, if I were in hospital. Highest regards, from an avionics/electrical engineer.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to Abine’s hard-working staff for this quite detailed FAQ page for the Blur app/extension. Please address these issues as well, and equally as thoroughly.
    1. Does a single Blur subscription, paid or free, cover all users (father AND wife? AND children of either?) in the same family, whether living in the same household or assigned/deployed to a remote location, or at school/college/holiday/vacation?
    2. Does a single subscription provide Sync-ing on more than one computer in a family, running more than one OS, throughout the specified term? Specifically 1 or 2 PCs (Vista, 7, Windows 8 x64, 8.1, etc.), 1 Mac (OS X 10.7.5, 10.9.x, etc.?), and 1 iPad (iOS 8.4.2, etc.)?
    2. Does 1 paid subscription allow Sync-ing on more than one Browser on each computer? (Firefox v40.0.2 and up, Opera v31.0 and up, Safari on Windows, Safari on Mac OS X, Safari on iPad iOS 8.4.1-up, M$ IE 6-10-up?)
    3. Will Blur fully protect PWs that are entered into non-browsers, incl. the OSes, iTunes, Adobe Reader DC & Acrobat, e-mail clients such as Apple’s Mail in Mac OS X & iOS, Mozilla Thunderbird; passwords for login to, using any browser? using AOL portal email?
    4. What about managing PWs on non-browsers? e.g., Homegroup in Windows 8.x, iTunes, ,
    5. Does Blur afford its full, regular performance in protection of PW during booting up and logging into User Accounts in Windows? Mac? iPad?
    6. Has Blur v4.9 been tested and proven by Abine to perform fully as descried, on EACH and ALL of above browsers and non-browsers? Each with the applicable OSes?
    7. What does Blur do, to protect the network handshake when connecting (TCP/IP? cable modem? wireless

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