20 May 2019: #TechBytes: How to keep your data safe from Facebook
If you like spending hours on Facebook, it's not your fault. It's the nature of the platform itself.
You get news, videos, and memes to get hooked on, while the company collects your data, which it sells to brands for placing their ads across all its services.
But, how do you stop, or at least limit, this collection?
Let's find out.
Data collection: Facebook collects a lot of data, more than you think
Facebook collects information on a humongous scale to create digital profiles for serving ads.
Obviously, the company uses the data you give willingly, like the photos you share or places you check-in.
But, beyond that, it mines your web activity (links clicked), your location from apps, and information from partner brands and services.
Now, that means a lot of personal data to sell!
Fact: You can't stop data collection altogether
Facebook doesn't offer a way to stop data collection as it is the main source of its revenue. However, you can limit what data the company gets for advertising on its apps.
Tip #1: Control what data Facebook uses to push ads
First of all, you need to control what data Facebook uses to show ads to you.
For this, head over to Facebook settings > Ads > Ad preferences > Ad settings and opt out of seeing "Ads based on data from partners" - third-party websites.
Then, do the same for "Ads based on your activity on Facebook company products that you see elsewhere".
Tip #2: Check connected third-party apps
If last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal that compromised millions is a lesson, you should be very careful about third-party apps on Facebook.
The social network has since improved the options for controlling apps' access, which you can do by heading over to Settings > Apps & Websites and changing what connected apps can or cannot access.
You can also remove unwanted apps if needed.
Tip #3: Using third-party tools to block Facebook's access
Facebook can get information about your online activity from web trackers on third-party websites.
Now, this, CNET says, can be controlled with the help of external tools like the Safari browser or Facebook Container extension for Firefox.
Both can block the social network from using third-party cookies and browser fingerprinting for tracking web activity and maintaining a record of it.
Tip #4: Cut off location access
Finally, you should cut off Facebook's access to your location by heading over to Settings > Location > Location access.
Here, you could either turn off Facebook's access to location services or keep the setting on and disable the 'Background Location' option to prevent Facebook from knowing your location when the app is not running.
You can even use VPN to mask your location.