Seriously, do you still have a Facebook account?
Well, despite the site being considered increasingly unhip amongst younger internet users and refusing to say sorry after letting hackers steal information from 500 million accounts, it appears that billions of people still haven’t managed to kick their dirty little Facebook habit.
Maybe a Twitter thread posted this weekend by Zamaan Qureshi of The Real Facebook Oversight Board will help you reconsider your continued membership of the site.
So I decided to download my Facebook data after learning I was a part of the 533m breach.
Clicked on a folder called “your_off_facebook_activity” and was unsurprised to learn that Facebook is following me all over the internet. pic.twitter.com/MSkceFAqYg
— Zamaan Qureshi (@zamaan_qureshi) April 11, 2021
Qureshi downloaded a copy of the data that Facebook stored about him (here is how you can do that too), and “was unsurprised to learn that Facebook is following [him] all over the internet.”
In a short video and subsequent thread posted on Twitter, Qureshi details some of the hundreds of websites that have shared information with Facebook about him, usually in an effort to “personalize the user experience” (also known as show more relevant ads).
That’s how Facebook knows he visited Kamala Harris’s website, where he orders his pizza from, that he applied to Fordham University, and more.
This is probably a surprise to many Facebook users. I suspect many Facebook users think they only have to worry about the data that they personally share about themselves on Facebook, by posting messages on the site, connecting with their friends, and liking posts.
But the truth is that Facebook knows much more about you than that, by collecting data from your activities off-site as well.
And yes, you can clear your history on Facebook and tell it not to collect off-Facebook activity in future…
But guess what?
Facebook will still actually be receiving information about the websites you visit…
The good news is that there are things you can do about this.
You can turn on anti-tracking features and ad blockers in your web browser, you can use add-ons like Facebook Container to stop Facebook peeking at your visits to non-Facebook sites, or you can take my preferred option which is to permanently delete your Facebook account and all the data it contains.
I know that quitting Facebook is hard for many people. But the sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll find that your life can actually be enriched by no longer being in an abusive relationship with Mark Zuckerberg’s haven of hate.
If you’re thinking of leaving Facebook, why not listen to this “Smashing Security” podcast we recorded all about the subject: