If you want to check what Facebook knows about you, you’re certainly not alone. After all, the social media network has gained notoriety for its privacy issues over the years, and it only seems to be getting worse. After all, who hasn’t joked about feeling like Facebook knows everything about you and what you’re thinking. Well, if you’re concerned or curious, keep reading to know more about the type of data that Facebook collects and how you can manage it.
- What does Facebook know about me?
- How to download your Facebook data on your iPhone or iPad
- How to control what Facebook knows about you
What does Facebook know about me?
Facebook uses complex algorithms to collect a range of information about you. It can broadly be categorized into the following:
1. Off-Facebook Activity
Even when you’re not on Facebook, the app can track some of your activity, such as what you search for or purchase online. Many websites use fragments of code known as Facebook Pixel to advertise to you after you’ve left their page too.
Sometimes, certain brick and mortar stores also share your information with Facebook so that they can show you personalized ads and promotional campaigns on your feed.
2. Apps and web activity
Noticed how many websites and apps offer you the option to quickly sign in with Facebook instead of creating an account from scratch? That’s thanks to Facebook being able to interact with your app and web activity.
Further, Facebook tracks you and your friends’ app and web activity to provide different kinds of recommendations. For instance, it may have access to your:
- Contacts – To help suggest friends in the “People You May Know” feature.
- Networks and Connections – Who you interact with online and how.
- Transactions and Usage – What you do, like, and buy on Facebook and its affiliated companies (WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.).
3. Device information
Some of the device-related information that Facebook collects about you includes:
- what device you’re using
- your IP address
- your device’s battery life
- your device location
- your mouse movements (this is to help detect bots)
4. Information you provide
Obviously, the bulk of what Facebook knows about you is willingly provided by you through your profile information, posts, everything you ‘like’ or comment on, the events you attend or show interest in, the locations you ‘check-in’ to, etc.
So, now that you know what data is collected are you ready to see everything Facebook knows about you? I’ve explained it in detail below.
Your collected data is readily available on the Facebook app or website, but you’ve got to know precisely where to look.
How to download your Facebook data on your iPhone or iPad
- On the Facebook app on iPhone or iPad, tap the ‘more‘ icon at the bottom right. It looks like three horizontal lines. Then scroll down and tap Settings and Privacy, followed by Privacy Shortcuts.
(On the web, click the drop-down arrow icon at the top right of the page and then click Settings and Privacy, followed by Privacy Shortcuts.)
- Scroll down, and you will see a section labeled Your Facebook Information. Here, tap on Access your Information.
- Now, scroll down, and you will see a range of different categories of information. You can select any to view more details.
- If you scroll all the way down, you will see an option to Download your Information.
- Once you tap that, you can select different categories of information that you’d like to download, from posts, photos, and stories, to messages, groups, profile information, and much more.
- Make your selections, and then at the bottom, you have some options such as Date Range, File Size, and File Format. Once you’ve picked the options, tap Create File at the bottom of the page. Depending on the selections you have made, it will take a while for your file to be ready for download.
How to control what Facebook knows about you
Facebook has been under fire for its complicated and suspicious handling of user data. But it does give you access to everything it stores. You can choose to delete specific things like contacts, posts, media, etc. Or you can delete your account altogether to prevent any further data usage.
You can also turn off personalized ads by going to Settings → Privacy Shortcuts → Ad Preferences → See Your Ad Settings.
Then, select each option and turn it off as needed.
Further, you can manage which third-party websites, apps, services, etc., are associated with your Facebook account by selecting Manage Your Off Facebook Activity under ‘View or clear your off-Facebook activity’ in Privacy Shortcuts. Then, you can look at each activity and choose to turn them off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Does Facebook know what I Google?
Yes, if you’ve logged into Facebook on a device, it will track your browsing activity to make related recommendations to you. But you can disable this, as explained in answer 4 below.
Q. Can Facebook listen to your conversations on the iPhone?
We’ve all joked at some point or the other about Facebook secretly listening to us, but no, it cannot access your device microphone without you knowing. iPhone users can be doubly assured thanks to the green and orange indicators in iOS 14 that let you know when an app uses your microphone or camera.
Q. How do I stop Facebook from spying on me?
Facebook is not precisely spying on you but instead using the information you provide and making the most of the permissions you’ve perhaps unknowingly given. You can manage to an extent by reviewing your Off-Facebook Activity as explained above.
Q. How do I stop Facebook from tracking my Google searches?
You can do this by going to Settings → Privacy Shortcuts → Your Facebook Information → View or clear your off-Facebook Activity → More Options → Manage Future Activity → Manage Future Activity → Then, toggle OFF the ‘Future Off-Facebook Activity’ option.
Find out everything Facebook knows about you!
Although it often seems creepy how much data Facebook has on you, on the flip side, it is used to improve your experience by connecting you to the most relevant people, pages, products, services, businesses, events, etc.
Moreover, even if you delete your account, you can still be giving Facebook information by using its affiliated services like Instagram and WhatsApp. What are your thoughts on all this? Are you continuing to use Facebook or planning to call it quits? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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