How to stop Facebook from tracking you on apps and websites

Bill Mount

Facebook was recently under fire for having access to a lot of user data than it really needs for basic functioning. There are a few ways to stop allowing Facebook to track your daily activities or data. You can turn off most of the permissions for Facebook that are not […]

Facebook was recently under fire for having access to a lot of user data than it really needs for basic functioning. There are a few ways to stop allowing Facebook to track your daily activities or data. You can turn off most of the permissions for Facebook that are not required for it to operate properly. For this, you just need to visit the settings section on your phone > Apps & notifications > Facebook > Permissions.

Users are also advised to disable ‘Off-Facebook activity’ if they don’t want the social media giant to track the apps or websites they are using. Though, Facebook will still be able to get some of your data as third-party apps or sites share your data with Facebook as they use the company’s tools to track your usage. Facebook claims it will never ask third-parties to share health or financial data of users.

The company itself says, “We receive activity from businesses and organisations 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.”

While Facebook has clearly stated its intention, you don’t really know if your data is safe. Last year, Facebook admitted sharing users’ data with third-party developers.

So, what data is Facebook collecting?

If you visit a site or an app, Facebook knows when you opened it or logged in, searched for an item, what item you added to a wishlist or cart, made a purchase or donation. So, if you are using an online banking app or the MakeMyTrip app to book flight tickets, Facebook can see all your activity and target ads to you accordingly. On Facebook, it knows your purchase history, contacts, search history, ads or products you interact with, precise location, physical address and more.

Android: How to stop Facebook from tracking your activities

Step 1: Open the Facebook app on your smartphone and tap on the hamburger icon, which is located on the top right corner of the screen.

Step 2: Scroll and tap on ‘Settings & Privacy.’

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Step 3: Visit settings > scroll > tap on off-Facebook Activity

*Once you land on this page, it will show you which apps or sites you have visited and are sharing user data with Facebook. You can tap on each app to get additional information on what data is being shared, and what Facebook is doing with all of it. The app also lets you download all your activity details. For this, you need to tap on the three-dotted button located in the ‘Off-Facebook Activity option.’ Then, tap on ‘Download your Information’ of your off-Facebook activities.

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Step 4: Tap on Clear History. This will make sure that you delete all the data that Facebook has collected. Once you clear the history, you will see all the apps disappearing from the top of the screen.

Step 5: Now to disable the option, you need to tap on ‘More options’ and then ‘Manage Future Activity.’

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Step 6: Tap again on Manage Future Activity and tap on Future Off-Facebook Activity.

The iOS users can also follow the same steps. The only difference is you will find the hamburger menu at the bottom of the screen once you open the Facebook app on your device.

What will happen if you disable ‘Off-Facebook’ activity’?

Once you turn off the ‘Off-Facebook activity’ option, a Facebook user won’t get personalised advertisements based on their daily online activity. If you want your ads to be personalised, you basically have to pay for it with your data.

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