Stop Facebook From Tracking Your Browser Data

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You can opt out of Facebook’s new data-gathering system.

Facebook recently announced it’s going to use your app and Web-browsing data to deliver targeted ads specific to your interests.

For instance, if you searched online for red Chuck Taylors, you’d likely see a barrage of advertisements for the iconic Converse shoes the next time you logged on to Facebook.

Until now, Facebook monitored your activities within the boundaries of its social network, Reuters said. It made note of your comments and pages you “liked” and created a sort of internal profile of all of its users. Now Facebook is expanding its Big Brother observing to include your Web browsing history.

“The company will now flesh out those [internal] profiles with information based on some of the external websites and mobile apps its members use,” Reuters said.

Who needs privacy, right?

Fortunately, it appears you can (kind of) opt out and stop Facebook from stalking your app and Web browsing data. “If you don’t want us to use the websites and apps you use to show you more relevant ads, we won’t,” Facebook stated. Fair enough.

Click here to access the Digital Advertising Alliance opt-out and follow the directions. It’s pretty simple, and it takes just a few moments. I did it, and it turns out there were 94 companies customizing ads for my Internet browser on my laptop.

You can simply select Facebook individually, or you can do what I did and opt out of all participating companies by selecting that option at the bottom of the screen. It creeps me out that so many companies are keeping tabs of my browsing history. So I hit the “choose all companies” option and I was done.

Here’s the catch: This is not a complete or permanent opt-out solution. You need to set your opt-out preferences separately for each browser and device you use. So, for me, I had to opt out on two computers, my Kindle Fire and my smartphone. Also, when you delete your browser cookies, that also removes your opt-out preferences, so you’ll likely need to go back and opt out periodically.

According to Business Insider, there are special instructions you need to follow to opt out on your mobile phone:

Mobile users will need to additionally opt out of advertising through special control settings embedded in iOS and Android. On iOS, visit the “Settings” app and open up the “Privacy” tab, click on “Advertising” and enable “Limit Ad Tracking.” On Android, Facebook may add this setting as a user preference within the “Application Manager” found in “Settings,” but you can also set up and manage a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on the device that should automatically disallow any browser tracking.

Oh, Facebook. Will you ever learn? People don’t like feeling as if they’re being spied on.

Just last week we told you about Facebook’s attempted apology for conducting an emotional contagion study on 700,000 unsuspecting Facebook users.

Have you opted out of Facebook’s new data-gathering plan? Does it bother you that Facebook is tracking your Web browsing history? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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