How To Stop Facebook From Tracking You? (Off-Facebook Activity)

stop facebook tracking data privacy
Image: Shutterstock/Nadia Snopek

Tech giants keeping tabs on users’ data is no surprise in today’s world. It’s a well-known fact that Facebook collects this data from its own as well as third-party apps. This third-party app tracking depends on the number of services signed up using Facebook login.

This article will discuss how Facebook collects your data, what kind of data it collects, and what it does with the same. Furthermore, we’ll also outline the steps you can take to disable Facebook from tracking your activities, prevent it from collecting your data, and restricting the “Off-Facebook Activity” feature.

What data is Facebook collecting and how?

The data hoarded by Facebook includes users’ screen time, which features they use, the number of times an app is opened, etc. On e-commerce apps, it knows a user’s purchase history, products wish-listed, contact and address, and more, as almost all of these apps have “Facebook Pixel” code on their website and mobile app.

What is Facebook Pixel?

Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that tracks browsing behavior by capturing your identifier on the web. This captured data is then shared with Facebook, enabling it to show you “targeted ads.”

Off-Facebook Activity feature

Introduced this year, the “Off-Facebook Activity” summarizes every move performed by a user on an external app or website. Apps and websites using Facebook tools (Facebook login, share, FB pixel, etc.) share this data with Facebook.

Not to mention that Facebook loves to know everything about everyone, and you’re highly mistaken if you think banking apps will not share your data with Facebook.

Screenshots confirm data shared by banking apps with Facebook through its Off-Facebook Activity feature, which is surely alarming.

Data shared from Paytm app
Data shared from HDFC banking app

The tech giant claims that this collected summary of users’ web activity helps them sell accurate and targeted ads. In other words, the number of apps for which you’ve signed up through Facebook login to save your precious time, you “pay” for this convenience with your data.

What’s further concerning is the shadow profiling that Facebook does, collecting data of people who are not even on Facebook.

If you wish to protect yourself, you can take the steps mentioned in this article to limit the amount of data Facebook can collect from your account by disabling the Off-Facebook Activity feature.

How to Stop Facebook Tracking: Off-Facebook Activity

There are two ways through which you can limit data sharing –

1. Stop Tracking Using Facebook mobile app

Take these steps to limit the data shared by third-party apps to Facebook:

  1. Launch the Facebook app, click on the hamburger icon in the top right corner, and click on “Settings & Privacy.”
  2. Click on “Settings.”
  3. Scroll down and choose “Off-Facebook Activity.”
  4. Click on the triple dotted line in the top right corner of your screen and tap on “Manage Future Activity.”
  5. Toggle the “Future Off-Facebook Activity button off.”
    Toggle the button to off

2. Stop Facebook Tracking On Web Browser

Follow these steps on a web browser to disable the Off-Facebook Activity feature:

  1. Open Facebook and click on “Settings & Privacy” from the top right corner of your screen.
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Click on “Your Facebook Information” and then choose “Off-Facebook Activity.”
  4. Click on “Manage your Off-Facebook Activity.”
  5. Select “Manage Future Activity.”
  6. Turn the “Future Facebook Activity button” off.

Clarification from Facebook

As Facebook confirms, “We receive activity from businesses and organizations who use our business tools so that can better understand how their website, app, or ads are performing. We use your activity to show you relevant ads and to suggest things you might be interested in.”

Facebook claims to be using the data for personalized ads. Meanwhile, they do not have a good track record concerning data security and how they share users’ data with third-parties.

Moreover, as Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram, it is easier for the tech giant to further profile an individual. However, if you wish to completely stop Facebook from tracking you, the extreme approach would be to give up these three apps.

In light of the facts discussed in the article, we recommend that you disable the Off-Facebook Activity feature to limit the data shared with Facebook.

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