All the ways Facebook follows you and how to stop it

Does Facebook listen to everything you say through your smartphone’s microphone? It’s an age-old question, but you may still be curious whether the social network can hear your conversations.

It’s happened to all of us at some point, and it’s really weird when you talk about something and then open your Facebook app to find that exact item that is staring at you in an ad.

I’ll put this to bed now. It’s just a coincidence, Facebook doesn’t listen to everything you say. Facebook confirmed this in 2016.

But Facebook knows all about you. Sometimes he knows what you’re going to say, do – or buy – before you even do it. This is because Facebook collects a lot of data.

It’s easy to see why there is a growing lack of trust in Facebook. The social network was caught disclosing user data; it has been embroiled in privacy scandals and hacked multiple times. No one can blame you if you are considering deleting the social network.

Even if you don’t want to delete Facebook, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of how it’s tracking you and how to prevent that from happening.

How Facebook follows you online

Facebook follows you when you browse online. You should have been hiding under a rock for missing out on the latest Apple iOS 14.5 update that gives people the option to opt-in to tracking on other apps and websites – a template that Facebook relies on for you. provide advertisements. It is for this reason that the social network has been fighting with Apple for six months.

But opting out of tracking on your iPhone does not cover your activity when using Facebook on a browser. You can control this with the help of a little-known tool that Facebook launched last year called Non-Facebook Activity.

You can find your activity outside of Facebook by going to your account in the upper right corner of your browser, then Settings> Your Facebook information and scroll to Activity outside of Facebook.

Facebook describes this setting as “a summary of the activities that businesses and organizations share with us about your interactions, such as visiting their apps or websites.”

Essentially, this means that data such as your purchases will be sent back to Facebook so that they can offer you an advertising offer, for example, money on your next purchase from a site that you have already interacted with.

Once you’ve gone past the length of the list of businesses you’ve interacted with, you can manage your activity outside of Facebook and clear the history, so your activity history is disconnected from your account. It doesn’t stop you from seeing ads, they’ll just be less targeted.

Facebook still collects data without tracking

Even without tracking on other sites and apps, Facebook of course collects your data. It has your date of birth if you entered it – or it can guess your age – it has your preferences, and it knows who you interacted with and when. All of this data is used to power the huge data machine of the social network.

“The amount of data Facebook and others have on us is absurd,” says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET. “With data being the preferred currency of the times, it’s no wonder that personal information is so sought after. It is used as part of a massive algorithm perfected on every user to take advantage of it by analyzing our movements and purchases. “

Moore advises users to limit the amount of data transferred, for example using the non-Facebook activity tool and the iPhone app tracking transparency (ATT) setting. You can even use a secondary email address to shop online, he advises.

So, to sum it up, no, Facebook doesn’t listen to your conversations, but it doesn’t have to. Privacy controls like activity outside of Facebook and Apple’s ATT can help, but remember they don’t stop Facebook from collecting your data.

About Ricardo Schulte

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