Facebook has a reputation for harvesting user data. It’s not just the social media giant that monetizes your online browsing habits, however; third-party app developers and advertisers also monitor and profit from your Facebook activity. In this article, we’ll show you how to limit the amount of data Facebook shares with third-party companies.
Facebook is not known for safeguarding the privacy of its users. In case you’ve forgotten the Cambridge Analytica scandal, here’s a short recap. Throughout the early 2010s, a UK-based company called Cambridge Analytics collected the personal data of 87 million Facebook users. This data was then used to improve political ad targeting during the 2016 Brexit referendum and the US presidential election.
This massive data collection was only possible because Facebook’s terms of service and its previous API allowed third-party apps to collect extensive information not only on those who use these apps but on their Facebook friends as well. This was done without their consent.
Facebook (the company now known as Meta) apologized for this incident and said it was taking steps to ensure this would never happen again. But can you trust the service after what has happened? If you’re going to keep using Facebook, it’s important to be able to limit how much data the company can share with third-parties.
In the wake of the recent events, Facebook announced it had made some changes to give its users more control over their data. These included new limitations for third-party apps that want to get access to your Facebook account, as well as the shutdown of the “Partner Categories” advertising section, which allowed advertisers to target Facebook users based on data collected by data brokers.
Facebook also said it would restrict developers’ access to users’ profiles, allowing apps to see only users’ name, profile photo, and email address.
In addition to this, you should also take some time to ensure that your private details stay between you and Facebook.
The “App Settings” page allows you to see all the apps that have access to your Facebook account. Yes, even those you deleted from your phone years ago.
Here, you can also see what data you’ve already provided to the app, and also remove some of the info you no longer want to share. Facebook said it would restrict developers’ access to user profiles if they haven’t used the app in three months, but to be on the safe side you should go through the list and delete the apps that you don’t use anymore.
To do this, open your Facebook account and go to the “Settings” menu, and then click “Apps and Websites.” Or jump there directly.
If you wish to prevent any of your data from being shared on Facebook’s API, it’s best to disable the platform. However, note that after you disable this setting, you won’t be able to log into other websites with your Facebook account.
To do this, stay on the “Apps and Websites” page and click “Edit” under the “Apps, Websites and Games” section.
Here’s what will happen if you disable Facebook’s app platform:
If you’re happy to continue, follow these steps:
You can’t avoid Facebook ads completely, but Facebook allows you to see what data it uses to serve you ads, and to make some changes so that it could serve you better. To learn how Facebook ads work and what options you have, visit the Ad Preferences section on the site.
Don’t skip the “Privacy Settings and Tools” page. Make sure your profile information (including your friend list, phone number, photos, posts, etc.) is visible only to your friends. Here you can also choose to review the posts you are tagged in and remove tags from those you don’t feel comfortable with. If you care about your privacy, make sure you hide your profile from search engines.
It’s important to stay safe when using Facebook, even if third-party data sharing isn’t an issue for you. Social media users may be at risk of identity theft, Facebook scams, and other online threats.
For more tips on securing your social media profiles, read this blog post covering all major privacy concerns. And if you feel you can no longer trust Facebook, you can just delete your Facebook account. Facebook has been hacked before, so the less data they can log and store about you, the better. If you want to remove yourself from Facebook’s data machine, you should also consider deleting their Messenger app.
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