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How to Do More to Stop Facebook from Tracking You

Jason Sattler

09.04.18 3 min. read

On Capitol Hill to in preparation in front of a House of Representatives committee about the ongoing Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal on Monday, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered a preview of his testimony planned for Tuesday. The text includes the admission that his company “didn’t do enough” to protect use the world largest social network from “being used for harm.”

Zuckerberg will add, “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”

It’s the controversy over “developers” like Cambridge Analytica and “data privacy” that has resulted in Zuckerberg’s first appearance in front of the U.S. Congress, though the site has offered apologies and promises over privacy issues for 14 years.

You can check whether your data was shared with Cambridge Analytica here.

While there’s widespread condemnation of third-parties collecting data on a Facebook user’s “friends” without permission and no Facebook user expects a third-party to get access to your private messages, there is a lot of debate about exactly how significant this violation of trust we are really talking about here.

Some argue that Barack Obama’s campaign used similar methods for his campaign — a contention at least one member of Obama’s data analytics team forcefully denies. Academic Zeynep Tufekci insists that what the firm did was not a “breach” but “an all-too-natural consequence of Facebook’s business model.”

In a new video for F-Secure’s Connected Life Channel, Sean Sullivan, F-Secure Security Advisor, explains that there’s one part of the story that’s definitely overblown: Psychographics. That’s the methodology Cambridge promised to use to target users by their psychology.

“From everything I’ve seen when I’ve studied Psychographics, it’s mumbo jumbo,” he said. “It’s marketing consultants trying to sell their services to people who need to market.”

Regardless, Facebook still possesses a multitude of ways to track it users. We offered you some ways to begin to limit the access it has to your tastes, as well as some tips for securing your account.

In this video, Sean offers ways to reduce the ways Facebook — and other “free” services like Google —  profile you.

“This is going to happen if you don’t prevent tracking in one way or the other,” he said.

So if you want to stay in touch with your friends and family while minimizing how much Facebook knows about you, check out the video and the checklist for the steps he advises below.

  1. Empty your cookies at the end of the day.
  2. Opt out of Google Analytics tracking. (Available for Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera.)
  3. Log into Google using Chrome, as opposed to your primary browser.
  4. Only log into Facebook in a browser you don’t use for web browsing.
  5. Do not use the email you use for your Facebook or Google when dealing with companies online.
  6. Limit your access to Facebook to specific platforms. For instance, Sean never uses Facebook mobile app. He only uses Facebook through the browsers on his desktop and iPad.
Jason Sattler

09.04.18 3 min. read


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