Being tracked on the internet is something that’s only to be expected, since advertising is still the biggest online moneymaker out there. Google and Facebook are two of the biggest companies that make money by being able to tell advertisers what we like, and there are many others who track our every move online.
Some of these companies offer you ways to limit the amount of data they collect, and they also offer some amount of transparency for their advertising programs. While you might never evade Google or Facebook completely, there are ways to see everything Google knows about you, and you can also find out which companies are tracking you on Facebook… aside from Facebook itself, that is.
Looking at the social networking giant, Business Insider has put together a neat guide that tells users how to find out which companies are tracking them using Facebook, what information is available to these companies, and what steps can be taken to limit their reach.
If you’ve never done this before you should know that Facebook anonymizes the data it collects about you before serving it to advertisers, and that data arrives in bulk, so chances are slim that you’ll be personally identified by an app you liked. That said, there are ways to limit ad tracking, monitor what apps have access to your Facebook data, and prevent your Facebook friends from sharing some of your data with advertisers.
To start, head on over to Facebook and click the little menu arrow in the top right corner of the screen. You’ll want to go to Settings, then to Ads. In there, you can Edit your Facebook Ads preferences to limit exposure.
Handling apps is almost as simple, but you have to go through each app individually to customize your privacy preferences.
Go to the home screen on Facebook.com again, then click the Lock in the top right corner and go to See More Settings. In there, click on Apps and start going through each of them. You can also easily remove the ones you don’t want to access your Facebook data, of course.
Finally, there’s one more step you have to take in order to manage what data can be seen by the companies (apps) tracking your friends. Head on over to Settings, then Apps, then Apps Others Use. In there, you’ll be able to limit what apps being used by your Friends can learn about you. For example, most apps don’t need to know your family and relationships, religion and political views, if you’re online, or where you live and work.
The entire privacy checkup process might sound a bit time-consuming, but it’s really easy to perform and it’s worth the trouble.