Don't Track Me

How to Avoid Being Tracked by Facebook

On this week’s episode, we talked quite a bit about the ways that Facebook, in concert with a bunch of other companies, can track you on and off the internet. Here are a number of ways to keep that from happening.

1. Delete your Facebook account

I’m sorry. I know this is annoying. But this is the simplest way to keep Facebook from advertising to you. But if you’re like the rest of the world and use facebook to talk to your relatives, there are other options.

2. Install an Ad Blocker

Ad blockers keep certain ads from appearing when you browse to sites, keeping code that could potentially track your movement from loading. Our favorite is Adblock Plus (some of our listeners have pointed out that AdBlock itself has had some controversy with ads in the past, and recommend uBlock instead).

3. Facebook Disconnect

Facebook Disconnect is a browser extension that simply blocks Facebook’s Pixel from loading when you visit a site that has it installed. So Facebook will no longer know where you are going on the internet.

4. Run Ghostery

If you’re looking for something a little more powerful than Facebook Disconnect, Ghostery is a browser extension that will scan a website as it loads and show you all the the tracking cookies that load with that site, including Facebook Pixel. It also gives you the option to prohibit those cookies from running across the internet.

5. Change your settings on Facebook

This link will take you to the ads preferences page on Facebook. It will show you what brands Facebook thinks you like, what advertisers you’ve interacted with, and the categories Facebook uses to advertise to you (as described in this week’s episode). You can delete all that information. Facebook may still have it all, but it will no longer allow advertisers to use that info to advertise to you. There are a number of other options to control your ad experience there as well.

6. Opt out with data brokers directly.

Steve Satterfield, a Facebook manager of privacy and public policy, says that users who don’t want that information to be available to Facebook should contact the data brokers directly. Again, the data brokers will still be collecting your data, but if you opt out, they will no longer share that data with third-party companies like Facebook or anyone else. There are dozens of these kinds of companies, but Facebook has a page where you can opt out directly with all of the data brokers they work with. You can find that page here (scroll to the bottom of the page for links to opt outs).

7. Lastly, if you really think that Facebook and Instagram are listening to you, turn off the app’s access to your microphone.

On iPhone:

  1. go to settings.
  2. tap on privacy.
  3. tap on microphone.
  4. tap the Facebook or Instagram slider to turn it off.

On Android (7.1.1 Nougat):

  1. go to settings.
  2. tap apps.
  3. tap on Facebook or Instagram.
  4. tap permissions.
  5. tap the microphone slider to turn it off.